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Healthcare Design for Children and Youth: Healing and Fun Spaces

As healthcare architects, we are passionate about designing healthcare facilities that support children and their families on their healing journeys. We believe healing spaces can be fun, playful, offer distractions, and let children be children.

From the ER to in-patient rooms, these spaces are designed with a diverse paediatric population in mind. Each patient is unique from their diagnosis and treatment to their wants and needs. It is important to create spaces that offer varying levels of stimuli. Folded into the healing aspects should be spaces for play, discovery, learning, and social connection. 

Four Design Considerations for Paediatric Healthcare Facilities

Imaginative Play
Spaces, where play is encouraged, should be uplifting, inspiring and designed to prevent loss of interest, which is especially important for those enduring lengthy hospital stays. A neutral palette accented with bright, bold colour helps to stimulate the imagination and detract from a typical clinical environment. Technology and bold artwork in the form of murals, sculptures or interactive installations keep minds active and sharp.

Nature and Patient Care
The therapeutic nature of outdoor spaces offers a peaceful, healing escape for patients and their families, all the while staying under the watchful eyes of caregivers. Patient rooms with abundant natural light and views of outdoors can further support and encourage healing.

The effects of sound pollution have been well documented in healthcare facilities. Mitigating noise through design in a healing environment requires a multi-layered approach. Using sound-absorbing materials and elements—like rubber and cork flooring, fabric-wrapped panels and enhanced acoustic ceiling systems—keep decibel levels within acceptable limits.

Artwork and Colour
Bold, uplifting artwork can offer inspiration and positive distraction as it promotes healing and creativity— though it should be carefully considered to ensure inclusivity of all patients. Animal graphics are ideal because they are gender and race neutral, with the added benefit of connecting with the interests and imagination of children. Art which depicts natural elements can help calm and sooth while connecting patients with life outside the hospital.

When designing healthcare facilities for kids, no detail is too small.

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