Patient-centric design informs the new Stanford Hospital

It’s just…it’s just something about the
healing place. It’s almost a religious experience. It is the environment of care. Building it is the most important
calling I can think of. Mike and I met later in life. We had one
of those — you missed the train and catch the next one and you meet your
mate, you know. And it was just, it was like we were meant to be. And then he got
sick. My liver started failing big time and from there that’s how I started at
Stanford. Mike was in the hospital several years ago in the early
stages of the building of the hospital. And when we would go on our walks we’d
come down to that far end of the hall and out that window was this huge
hole where they were building, so we would go over there and just kind of
watch the progress. It was, it was cool. We really want to give back and it got
to the point then where we became members of the founding Patient and
Family Advisory Council. The Patient and Family Advisory Councils, or PFACs as we call them, are core to the process by which we integrate patient and family
voice when we were soliciting feedback. Usually in this process you talk to
the doctors, the nurses, administrative people, housekeeping people, etc. and what
they’re doing, but here we actually reached out to the people who are the
direct people we’re serving. They were the owners. There’s nothing more
important to us than the health and well-being of our patients. For sure that
means delivering the very best medical care but it also means having an
environment that’s nurturing and supports healing and well-being. We did a
lot of work to identify what were the needs that the patients had before we
designed what the building would accomplish. When you look at this
building and its design, it really is centered around that care experience, what is most important to the patient and the caregivers as part of that
environment. One of the things that we started out doing was really trying to
incorporate principles of design thinking, doing lots of different
interviews, observing patients and families as they interacted in our
existing buildings and then adding to the existing design of the hospital. When
we were talking to patients, it really became obvious to us that the caregiver
was just as much a part of the experience for the patient as we were
and addressing those needs of the family or the caregiver was really important. So
that translated into a space that was designed on the third floor of the new
hospital that’s really dedicated to the family and caregiver experience. The
first floor is where patients and families interact with the building with
their shoes on and the third floor is where you interact with the building with
your bedroom slippers on. Patients and families especially, they’re
there 24/7. This is their home as well. They need places to go for respite. We
didn’t want that to be a secondary thought in the building. The third floor
has its own vibe. It’s the heart of the hospital and it’s where they soften the
edges. It’s a place where people can go to find information, do research on a
particular diagnosis or condition and then, most importantly, creating a serene
environment that allows the caregiver or family member to decompress. It’s woven
together, art, music, knowledge, spirituality, nature, and it’s everywhere
on that floor, and makes all those elements even more powerful. From private rooms to the whole third
floor with the meditation room, the gardens, the way this has been designed, I
just can’t help but feel health and healing. About four or five years ago Michael and I
separated. And I was here alone. It was a pretty tough time for both of us. I was
still coming over to the hospital quite a bit because I was still doing my
volunteer work. And every time I came by I would stop and take pictures. And at
that time it was just the steel structure. And it was my way of
communicating with Mike about…”look, the new hospital’s coming along! “Look how much
progress is there!” It was really kind of symbolic to both of us about the
building and reconstructing and it was… it was very healing for us. What I’ve
always said about the old hospital and I know it’ll be the same with this new one
is it’s a miracle factory. I’m the perfect example. I probably shouldn’t be
here. Which means I wouldn’t be here with my wife. And she’s funny and I like her.

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