Incorporating hospitality elements into healthcare design isn’t necessarily a new concept. However, Heartland Health in St. Joseph, Missouri, took that goal very seriously by hiring David Jones right from the hospitality industry, where he worked for several years as a general manager of various hotel brands.

Today, Jones is the vice president of support services for Heartland Health, and with him he brought an assortment of concepts from his old hotel days to make patients and family feel more at ease and that they are in good hands.

Even something as small as allowing potted plants to die sends the wrong message, says Jones, who spoke during the session “New Challenges—New Solutions, Part 2” at the ASHE PDC Summit being held this week in Tampa, Florida. He took the opposite approach at Heartland Health, not only hiring a company to provide potted plants throughout the hospital (that are kept very much alive), but also by incorporating flowers throughout the campus.

Other hospitality-based ideas he encouraged attendees to consider include:

  • A central waiting area that has no connection to medical staff;
  • Bariatric chairs so all patients are comfortable;
  • A business center for working family members or students;
  • A family consultation room, where families are allowed private time with a physician to hear the condition of a loved one;
  • Upgraded elevators;
  • A second television in the patient room for family members to watch what they like, if it differs from the patient’s choice;
  • Incorporating items like digital picture frames and iPod docking stations so patients can make their space more personal; and
  • The use of scents, like lavender in the psychiatric ward.