By: Marni T. Murdock, Principal Architect, ACHA, LEED®-AP
In the Philippines, a hospital visit may resemble a family reunion. It is unthinkable to have a single chair in the room or to limit family visitations. Consequently, patient rooms, especially those in Intensive Care Units, are designed to accommodate the extended family, even to the point of overnight stays.
That may seem inordinately expensive, but in many cases, family members are encouraged to participate in patient care. Evidence points to faster healing if family members participate. This help is particularly important to a hospital in the Philippines, where charity cases are commonly accepted and healthcare professionals are challenged with high volumes of patients.
Hospitals in the Philippines are moving towards attaining Joint Commission International Accreditation standards. Healthcare is becoming much more evidence-based, as it is in the U. S., and new hospital design is reflecting that with more attention being given to what actually works to help heal a patient faster and better, such as single patient rooms, home-like settings and natural light and views.
Extended family gatherings at patient bedsides is not uncommon in Hawai‘i either, especially on the Neighbor Islands, where AHL has designed larger waiting areas that in some cases incorporate outdoor seating areas in response to the greater number of family members.
“However, it isn’t quite like it is in the Philippines, where a hospital waiting room can feel like a train station,” notes AHL CEO Bill Brizee, who has spent considerable time in the Philippines with Rotary Club projects.
A possible revenue-generating idea for U.S. hospitals is the Filipino convention of including chain restaurants near the lobby and waiting areas instead of providing a hospital cafeteria for public use.
AHL has experience in Japan as well, with the design of the K Tower in Kamogawa, Chiba, Japan, part of the Kameda Medical Center. The goal of the 11 generations of physicians in the Kameda family was to create a patient-centered medical facility, and AHL was instrumental in introducing evidence-based design and other Western health care concepts to help facilitate that objective.
Each culture has views that impact how they deal with medical issues. It’s important to know those so that design works with the culture and helps the healing process.