Coffee cup on a table image

A little inspiration, practical ideas, and design layouts

There are three sections below which capture our ideas of what hospital charities should consider before submitting their application: A little inspiration; Practical ideas; and Design layouts.

A Little Inspiration

The use of bookshelves and books create a more homely environment.
Including appliances such as a microwave, dishwasher and kettle allow parents to prepare food for themselves as eating out can be very expensive.
Adding a rug and coffee table will enhance the room and give a more welcoming feel.
Adding coloured splash-backs to the kitchen area will liven the room and can make it feel more inviting to parents and carers.
Brighter colours and contrasting ceiling lights will make the room feel homelier.
Adding a breakfast bar, if space is tight provides a much-needed place for parents and carers to eat, and to chat with each other.
Colour palettes make parent/carer rooms feel less clinical.
Using colour on walls can help to give a sense of ‘calm’ to the room.
Providing biscuits and snacks can facilitate coffee breaks and informal peer support.
Adding plants, books and magazines will give a welcoming feel to the room.
Back-lit ceiling or wall panels give the feeling of natural light if the room is enclosed and does not have any access to windows.
Adding artwork by local artists, photographers or local schools help personalise parent/carer rooms.
Wall decals are an inexpensive way to enhance a room if the walls are plain.
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Practical Ideas

Below are some practical solutions to challenges inherent in creating parent/carer rooms in hospitals.

Softer ceiling lighting, possibly dimmable, can remove the harshness of standard hospital lighting.
Providing a dining table and chairs will give parents and carers the space to sit and eat, and give them the opportunity to chat with other parents.
Placing a dining table against a wall is a good idea if space is tight.
Floor lamps are a wonderful way to create warmth and ambience, particularly in the evening.
Wall decals are an inexpensive way to enhance a room if the walls are plain.
Using stackable chairs are a great space-saver if rooms are small. Round tables can also help facilitate conversation between parents.
Lockers are an essential provision for parents/carers to keep their personal belongings safe.
Providing free food is particularly useful for emergency admissions, or at times when parents are reluctant to leave the ward/hospital to buy food for themselves.
Having a cup of coffee or tea in a mug is much more comforting than drinking from a polystyrene cup.
Wall-mounted mobile charging stations ensure parents/carers can stay in touch with their family and friends, particularly in emergency admissions when phones may not be fully charged.
Bookshelves can be used for communal books and magazines, and create a ‘home from home environment’.
Well stocked kitchen cupboards are much appreciated by parents/carers when they are in hospital for long periods.
Floor lamps are a wonderful way to create warmth and ambience, particularly in the evening.
Sofa
Combination locks on lockers are useful in shared spaces which solves the issue of losing keys.
Wall sockets with USB points allow flexibility for using both the plug socket and charging items such as mobiles, tablets, and other mobile devices.
Softer ceiling lighting, possibly dimmable, can remove the harshness of standard hospital lighting. This image was taken at Ronald McDonald House Evelina London.
Flooring such as Amtico, which has a range suitable for health environments, offers choice in terms of colour and finish of floors.
Multi-function items are preferable in small spaces. This wall decal at Ronald McDonald House Evelina London incorporates coat hooks.
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Design Layout

True Colours commissioned AEW Architects to design three layouts for the average sized hospital parent/carer room. The designs are below and incorporate the ideas outlined in our guidelines. The full size .pdf version of these designs can be downloaded using the links below:

Breathing Spaces – Layout Idea Option 1

Breathing Spaces – Layout Idea Option 2

Breathing Spaces – Layout Idea Option 3

Layout image 1
Layout Option 2
Layout image 3
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