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New Parkland design includes family-friendly features

When planning began in 2009, a key element in the design of the new Parkland hospital, Dallas, was to create a family-friendly environment with amenities that were not only aesthetically pleasing, but comforting as well. To that end, Parkland Health & Hospital System officials recruited former patients and family members to serve as an ad hoc advisory group to gather their input on everything from shelving height to placement of door openings, according to a news release.

More than two dozen people participated in the Patient and Family Advisory Council, providing valuable insight on how to improve patient care based on personal experiences. Early in the design process, the group met monthly and provided feedback on areas including the ED, NICU and various
inpatient units.

“There were several members of the group who were very engaged in the process,” Kathy Harper, BSN, MBA, RN, Parkland’s vice president of clinical coordination, said in the release. “They provided information that was invaluable and much of their feedback was incorporated into the design of the
new hospital.”

The patient-centered approach to design created a more healing environment with natural light and windows as well as more space for family and visitors.

Through the council, there was support for private patient rooms, specific family areas within patient rooms, improved directional signage throughout the hospital, as well as a vote to select basic color concepts and flooring that would support patient healing.

Council members spent countless hours in mock rooms, testing details that led to subtle changes to enhance the patient and family experience. One change involved the toilet location in the private bathroom. While a “patient” sat on top of the commode, family members stood beside and demonstrated how they would assist in the care of their loved one.

“We originally had the commode located in a way that caregivers couldn’t easily assist the patient in the bathroom and then back to the bed,” Harper said. “The group talked it through and moved it so as to give caregivers a few extra inches in which to maneuver. The result is a win-win for patients, families and staff.”

The new 1.7 million square feet acute care hospital is scheduled to open in 2015. For additional information, visit

By | 2014-12-17T00:00:00-05:00 December 17th, 2014|Categories: Regional, South|0 Comments

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