Inspired by a young cancer patient named Hendo who underwent two bone marrow transplants before dying at age 3, the Institute for Patient-Centered Design launched its Family-Centered Cancer Care Design Competition this year. The mission for designers: Address key patient/family concerns, considering frequently long hospital stays and the need for parents to be on hand as much as possible, in a space that’s appropriate for patients ranging from infants to teenagers.

Three submissions were selected as finalists by the competition jury, and all three are conceptual designs rather than already-existing projects. “My guess is that after reading about our competition’s inspiration, some teams were inspired to develop ideas as a direct response to Hendo’s family’s experience,” says Tammy Thompson, the Institute’s CEO. “In most submissions, we could see a clear desire to create something special for children battling cancer, and we applaud this effort.”

Each of the finalists—DesignGroup (Columbus, Ohio), Erdman (Madison, Wis.), and RS&H Inc. (Jacksonville, Fla.)—will present its design idea in a virtual reality walk-through during a session at the Healthcare Design Conference (Nov. 15-18, San Diego).  Conference attendees will then have the opportunity to select a winner, whose design will be built for the 2015 Healthcare Design Conference in Washington, D.C.

Hendo’s mother, Dr. Rozanne Hug Wille, served as one of the jurors and notes some of the design concepts that stood out to her. “I wish we could have had even half of the things incorporated in the space when hospitalized for long periods of time,” she says of one entry. Features such as a large family bed met with her approval: “If you go around any cancer unit, you’ll always see family members lying in bed and cuddling with the patient to help care for them.”

Click on the photo above to see all three finalists' design.