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Byline: Soft beds, hard battles

Imagine being holed up in a hospital room for six days! With one child struck down with malaria, I had to forget my own raging fever and pharyngitis, and take on the role of a caregiver.

So off we went to a local hospital. And after having had much time to mull over the design, architecture and loose furniture in my environment, I have this to say: hospital and healthcare environment designers may have worked wonders when it comes to furniture and equipment for patients, but the needs of the caregiver who accompanies the patient seems to have fallen by the wayside. In the ideal world, all caregivers accompanying patients would be hale and hearty, but that's not the way it plays out! Family members or relatives could be suffering from ailments themselves, or they could be elderly or even infirm. So while the patient recovers, chances are that the designated caregiver might well emerge pretty much worse for the wear! In my case, while my daughter enjoyed excellent medical care, it was obvious that though the designer of the hospital had put a lot of effort into thinking of the patient's needs, he had not spared a thought for the caregiver's. An auto-reclining, one-touch mechanism Hill-Rom hospital bed allowed my daughter to haul herself up or down with total ease. But comparing her hi-tech bed to the shoddy sofa-cum-bed provided for me -- whose springs had seen better days -- it was obvious I had been shortchanged! The sofa looked like it had come out of a local workshop and whoever designed it had obviously not given much thought to the wear and tear it would be put though. Or did the hospital's budget fall short! Hauling myself out of the sofa five times during the night, left me worrying about the potential damage being done to my spine! I was almost tempted to stay behind as a patient and enjoy the comforts of the Hill-Rom bed - just to recover from my aching back! However, let's not forget the plus points - and there were many. With time on my hands to walk around and take in the ample windows that allowed sunlight to stream in, the cheerful green dE[umlaut]cor, the friendly faces, the hot meals on wheels, the coffee shop in the central atrium and the coffee/water/chocolate dispensers, I must agree that healthcare design and care has come a long way!


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Publication:Middle East Interiors
Date:Aug 1, 2009
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