Institute for Patient-Centered Design

Patient-Centered Design Online

Publication of Institute for Patient-Centered Design, Inc.

July/August, 2013, Issue 25

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2013 Patient & Family Centered NICU Winners Announced!
We are pleased to announce the top three winning submissions in the 2013 Patient & Family Centered NICU Design Competition. The winning teams (in random order) are: Stantec Architecture Ltd. for Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto; McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture for Bon Secours St. Francis Health System (Eastside Campus) in Greenville, SC; and Hord Coplan Macht, Inc. for MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore. We would like to congratulate not only these winners, but all of the teams that submitted their NICU solutions.  We received numerous impressive submissions that made us very proud of the NICU design projects recently developed with patient and family centered care in mind.
First, second, and third place titles will be awarded during the Patient-Centered Design Reception, where the full-scale model of the Patient & Family-Centered NICU patient room, inspired by the highest scoring submissions, will be unveiled on opening night of the 2013 Healthcare Design Conference!  To join us, please select this reception during your conference registration at  


2013 Patient & Family Centered NICU Finalists2013 Patient & Family Centered NICU Finalist

Compassionate Design: Inspired by the desire to give back

By Tammy Smith Thompson, NCARB, EDAC


Institute for Patient-Centered Design, Inc. is well on its wayNICU to developing an unforgettable learning experience for the 2013 Healthcare Design Conference. Inspired by the winning submissions of the 2013 Patient & Family Centered NICU Design Competition, we will build a model of a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) patient room to house the Patient Experience Simulation Lab. This workshop series, which will run continuously during the conference, will cover design solutions for engaging families as care partners in the NICU. Since we have learned the importance of storytelling as valuable tool for educating on patient and family centered care needs, we would like to share some stories with you as we prepare to meet you in Orlando this November for the Patient Experience Simulation Lab, part of the Healthcare Design Conference.



I will start with my own story. My son, who was born preterm, spent one week in the Level II NICU. Because my postpartum recovery took longer than expected, we were separated for the first week of his life. With only short visits to the NICU each day, I tried to be there for him to the best of my ability. One of the ways that I did so was by expressing breast milk that could be fed to him even when I could not visit. When I gained strength, I traveled to the NICU to breastfeed him directly. The "open ward" arrangement of the unit provided no privacy for families who were bonding with their babies. A lactation consultant who was there to help brought a partition over to my son's bassinette to block visibility from the unit's viewing window to my wheelchair, where I learned to breastfeed him. At that moment, our surroundings completely faded and my focus was on my child; however, as I reflected on the precious time that I spent in the NICU with my son, I could not stop brainstorming on what I could do as a designer to improve NICU environments for other families. Would a lack of privacy discourage some mothers from breastfeeding? What could be done to minimize separation of mothers and babies? From that experience, I conducted literature reviews and used my design background to develop facility solutions to support postpartum mothers and their newborns in the hospital. This work sparked the development of the Institute's Lactation Design Initiative. Through our published articles, live presentations, monthly webinars and collaborative work on design solutions for lactation rooms, we have educated hundreds of clinicians, employers, designers and mothers on design options to support breastfeeding. I take pride knowing that the "less than optimal" environment in which my son spent the first week of his life inspired me to seek solutions to improve conditions for other families. I am certainly not alone. Many parents who have had a child in the NICU find their own way of using this experience as motivation to "pay it forward" for other families. Here are some of their stories.


Born three months early, my daughter spent the first 2 months of her life in the neonatal intensive care unit.  While the care for my baby was first rate, the facility needed minor enhancements.  I remember that there was a wooden rocking chair assigned to each incubator.  I spent countless hours in my chair feeding my baby and enjoying kangaroo care.  Some of the chairs had seat cushions and some did not.  After a while, my chair became quite uncomfortable, especially for a postpartum mother who had recently undergone an emergency Caesarean Section.    At the end of her stay, we donated seat cushions to the hospital to improve comfort for future families.   We felt compelled to do something after everything the medical team had done for our family.

 - Yvonne Smith Jones


If I had to recount my most memorable experience with a family in the NICU, it would be the time that I cared for a baby who ultimately did not survive. During her stay, her mother was always there in the rocking chair at the baby's side. She found comfort knitting blankets from that chair as she sat with her baby for several weeks in the NICU. After everything had been done to save this baby, the doctors informed her parents that she would not make it. The staff wanted to be as supportive as possible by patiently standing by as the mother grieved for several hours before the baby was taken off the ventilator. Days later, the mother came back and donated all of the extra blankets that she had made to the (NICU) hospital. Inspired by this experience, bereavement blankets were given to families who lost their babies. Parents found comfort in taking a blanket home that had been used to swaddle their baby as they said a final farewell. This mother who experienced such pain had left a bit of comfort for other families who would suffer similar loss. I will never forget that.

 - LaShawna Heflin, RN


The following excerpt represents the experience of the Boyd family. Mother Meaghan Boyd served as a juror for our Patient & Family Centered NICU Design Competition.


We were incredibly lucky to have the Grady NICU in Atlanta, just a short drive from Piedmont Hospital, in our time of need.  The doctors and nurses are first rate.  The facilities, including the waiting rooms and family sleeping rooms... [were] in need of refurbishment.  Upon leaving Grady that Friday afternoon, we knew we wanted to help.  We discovered Lukas' Fund through a Grady social worker and board member and are proud to be partnering with them to achieve our common goal of supporting Grady's NICU.

 - Meaghan and Jared Boyd (excerpt from


Meaghan and Jared Boyd have created Piper's Friends in partnership with the Lukas' Fund to raise funds for facility improvements in the NICU at Grady Health System in Atlanta, Georgia. What better way to honor their daughter than by attending to the needs of NICU families to come. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to this worthy initiative, please visit


As we approach design projects, let us not forget that our decisions may shape the experiences of NICU families and the clinicians that work so earnestly to help them. While we celebrate the highest scoring submissions of this year's design competition, we recognize that all of the projects were winners because they were designed to improve NICU conditions.  What can we contribute through facility design that seeks to promote healthy practices like breastfeeding, provide secure spaces, improve outcomes through infection and medical error prevention, and to facilitate family-centered care? Please share your thoughts with the Patient-Centered Design Alliance. We look forward to learning more from NICU parents who will be on site during the Patient Experience Simulation Lab at the 2013 Healthcare Design Conference.


2013 Patient & Family Centered NICU Made Possible By:

HCD13Sponsored by Lifespan, World Viz, Flexco, Sandra Breeding Healing Art, Bimeco, Wieland, LogiSon, GCX, OFS, Webb Shade Name


New Lactation Design Webinar Series
Lactation Design

This year, we are offering a free monthly webinar on Lactation Design. We have partnered with a creative team of designers to provide information to lactation professionals, employers and their design teams, and anyone interested in improving facility accommodations to support breastfeeding.


Effective March 23, 2010, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to provide "a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk." 

(United States Department of Labor. [2010] "Break Time for Nursing Mothers")


This webinar provides step by step information for establishing lactation rooms in new and existing facilities, as well as new and innovative solutions to create a clean supportive environment for users. For more information, or to register, please visit  Participants may earn one AIA HSW Learning Unit for attending this webinar.

Calendar of Events
August 6-8, 2013

The 6th International Conference on Patient- and Family-Centered Care: Partnerships for Quality & Safety  

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada  


August 8-9, 2013

Healthcare Design Academy

Anatole Hotel, Dallas, TX, US 


August 21, 2013, 1 pm - 2 pm EDT
"Lactation Design," A Free Webinar on Lactation Room Solutions 

August 22 - 23, 2013
2013 SAR Architecture for Health Annual Conference

The Madren Conference Center, Clemson, SC, US



2013 Healthcare Design Conference

November 16-19, 2013| Orlando, FL



We are proud to continue our association with the Healthcare Design Conference! This annual event engages the leaders in healthcare facility design on the most current, innovative, and evidence-based advances in the field.

Enjoy Early Bird Registration through August 9, 2013!


2013 Healthcare Design Conference

Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center 


As a courtesy to our readers, we have listed information about upcoming events and links to related websites for more details. This does not necessarily constitute a relationship between Institute for Patient-Centered Design and any of the websites, events or organizations listed. Nor does this represent an endorsement or guarantee of any kind. While we strive to keep such information updated, we make no legal or otherwise binding commitment to do so. We do not guarantee any of the information on the websites listed. Nor do we guarantee the events themselves. 

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The views and opinions expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute for Patient-Centered Design, Inc. We respect the rights of patients, family members and professionals to express their opinions and welcome comments on the topics published in this newsletter. We reserve the right to edit and publish comments and letters at our discretion.


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