Closer to Home
This issue is the second of our four Spotlight issues for 2011, highlighting women's hospitals from around the country. In addition to it hitting just in time for Mother's Day, this issue also focuses on a subject that hits home for me on a personal level right now, as my wife and I are expecting twin boys to arrive this spring.
With these impending new arrivals has come a whole new level of understanding of women's facilities that I, as a male, had never really gotten before (for obvious reasons). My wife and I recently toured the hospital where we will be having our babies with a large group of other expectant mothers and fathers, and the reactions to the rooms (particularly the birthing suite) and the questions being asked of our guide really put the importance of the design elements in proper perspective for me-and of course living with my pregnant-with-twins wife for these last few months has put the needs of the patient into sharp focus, as well. Everything from the lighting to the flooring to the placement of the bathrooms was scrutinized, and with good reason-these are women at their most vulnerable and their most vital.
Outside of that experience, I have spent more time than ever in exam rooms, ultrasound labs, and many other areas of healthcare facilities that I am normally not given access to. The results have been eye-opening. It goes far beyond just painting the walls a feminine color.
Debbie A. Burbules, president of UPMC Hamot Women's Hospital-whom I interviewed for this month's Showcase, found on page 64-remarked to me that she fully expected some backlash from the community when it was announced they were spending all this money and time on a women's specialty building, but that backlash never came. The community, much to their credit, understood that women are a most specialized demographic in need of very specific types of care. I give them, as well as hospital leadership and the design team, all the credit in the world for grasping the true need for facilities like this one.
Healthcare Design 2011 May;11(5):6