A few months ago I did a proposal to improve the stay of families in the ICU:
The Hospital Universitario de Torrejón and the IC-HU Project got in touch with me to make this change. It was for my all an honor that the first Hospital interested in taking this step is the reference the humanization of intensive care units.
So I put hands to work, and before starting the design project, I asked many questions to meet the needs of the room. I started to design the space with all that information.
The room is a “L” shaped space with seats lining the perimeter with seating capacity for 30 people and two vending machines.
A large room, but if I have to describe it in with one word would be… cold.
The project consists of converting the current cool waiting room in a living room to make families feel as at home: create an warm environment, friendly, welcoming and with personality, in short a homely space.
The elements to achieve this have been: distribution, furniture, color and design.
To create an efficient space the room has been redesigned in three areas:
1. A waiting area general next to the ICU door, formed by a set of chairs with tables distributed in islands. So, a family will have its own space and privacy and they can hear easily healthcare providers.
2. A common area comprised of two dining tables and chairs for versatile use as working with a computer, consume the products of machines, meetings of the “schools of families” or simply for families to interact.
2. And finally into the back of the room has been created one space more intimate and private, separate from the rest of the room by two panels and a more comfortable furnishings to cover the needs as resting, breastfeeding or for people with disabilities.
Another essential element in the room has been the design.
A custom image has been created and we have captured with vinyls, a skyline that evokes schematically the view from a window to maintain and reinforce the concept.
We have played with the color because it affects our state of mind and we must use it to our benefit. Warm colors have been used to bring positive feelings to encourage families and the colors of nature which relaxs us. We wanted to create a warm, friendly and welcoming room where the family feel that they have their own space.
Once the reform has been very finisehd it was very interesting to witness as family members reacted coming into the new living room: surprise, bewilderment, smiles and curiosity were the first reactions. After the initial feelings all were sitting in the islands and I noticed that the silence of earlier days was replaced by relaxed conversations among relatives.
This new environment gave me confidence to ask families their opinion about change and it was rewarding to hear answers like these: “It seems that we do not come to the hospital”, “It has encouraged me,” “It is very glad”, “It seems the disconnect Google room”, “What a joy to think about us” “We must take care of it so that everyone can feel as I feel now”.