Some special advisers are helping select the furniture that will go in patient rooms in the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion: the parents of former patients.

They’re an important part of making sure the hospital, set to open in 2019, is as family-friendly as possible. They recently came to a furniture fair on the MUSC campus to test some of the options. Employees who will work in the new hospital also tried out the chairs and sofas.MUSC Health staff testing new chairs

The chairwoman of the MUSC Children’s Health Patient and Family Advisory Council, Kelly Loyd, called it a great example of the collaboration that’s occurred throughout the design process.

“Gathering patients, family and staff to evaluate and make recommendations on the family furniture that will be used in the patient rooms was critical in ensuring that the selections made will meet the needs of everyone who will use them,” Loyd said. (Learn about how patients became involved with this project in our NewsCenter story.)

She knows firsthand what it’s like to have a child in the hospital for an extended period. Her twin daughters spent weeks in MUSC Children’s Hospital after they were born prematurely. She said including parents in the furniture selection process was a great example of patient- and family-centered care.

Carolyn BaRoss, the design principal working on the interior aspects of the new hospital, appreciates the input. “Many caregivers provided important insights for how patients use the furnishings, which will be very helpful to narrow the options for further testing in the units,” BaRoss said.

“Some of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurses were especially helpful in providing feedback on best choices for gliders and recliners for kangaroo care.”

Kangaroo care is a way of holding babies so they get skin-to-skin contact.

“We have tremendous experience in designing for health care, but the input based on individual experiences of the families and patients who gave us their valuable time and insights will make the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion even more responsive to their needs,” BaRoss said.

Brenda Smith, the interior designer for focusing on furniture for the new hospital, said the chairs and sofas need to be comfortable, inviting and safe.

“The furniture in the patient rooms has an immediate impact on the patient’s family, affecting their comfort, convenience and potentially the quality of their sleep,” Smith said. “Facilitating a review of the furniture pieces used in these patient care spaces helps to identify the key attributes that enhance the patient and family experience.

“In addition, review by staff helps to identify key considerations for safety, infection control and durability. All of these factors help our design team arrive at the best solution for MUSC and the children they care for.”

Construction on the hospital began in August. Features include:

  •  Larger rooms for all patients
  •  Light-filled play areas
  •  Private rooms in the neonatal intensive care unit
  •  A dedicated “stork elevator” for women in labor
  •  Family amenities such as kitchens, showers and laundry rooms