Healthcare facilities are paying greater attention to the importance of family members in patient care and upgrading or renovating their family and visitor spaces to be more welcoming, with places to sit as well as grab a bite to eat and stay connected with work and friends.

When Hasbro Children’s Hospital (Providence, R.I.) opened in 1995, the pediatric division of Rhode Island Hospital included family space on its patient floors with a few couches for sitting and watching TV.

But the overall environment wasn’t very friendly or welcoming, says Jenifer LaRose, an RN, CPN, and clinical manager of the sixth floor, which houses the hospital's behavioral health unit.

In addition, families on the sixth floor experience limited visitation hours and are likely to be attending multiple counseling sessions throughout the week. So the ability to have a welcoming space to wait for appointments or visitation hours or to simply take a break is important.

“To go to the family lounge to wait for an appointment or to have a cup of coffee, it does wonders for the families,” LaRose says.

A few years ago, Hasbro began renovating its family lounges and recently unveiled the Dunkin’ Donuts Family Room on the sixth floor. The lounge design is modeled after Dunkin’s 2015 restaurant concept and features the brand’s signature orange and pink colors and coffee donated by area franchisees from Rhode Island and Bristol County, Mass., which funded the renovation project.

Most importantly, it houses a variety of seating options, a kitchen with microwave, refrigerator, a Keurig machine, decorative pendant lights, a computer station, and a flat-screen TV.

“It doesn’t feel like you’re in a hospital,” LaRose says. “It tells the families how important they are.”

For more on how healthcare facilities are rethinking family and visitor spaces, read "Guest Services: A New Approach."