Friday, May 16, 2008
A Room with a View
Someone walked into my friend’s house the other day and said “Oh, you must have a child with medical issues.” The child was not in the same room, but there was no doubt that person was correct. While the outside of a house in which a child with significant medical issues lives may look like every other house on the block, the inside is usually completely different.
The living room and family room will often contain special seating, standers, or sometimes even a hospital bed. Syringes and tubing used for tube feedings and medicine administration can be found on the kitchen counter along with cans of Pediasure or other nutritional supplement. The bathroom may have special bath chairs, raised toilet seats, grab bars, or maybe even a lift system. The child’s bedroom will usually house the bulk of the medical equipment – special beds, nebulizers and other life-sustaining electrical appliances, wound dressings, spare G-tubes and trach supplies, and personal care supplies such as incontinence aids.
In addition to all the medical supplies, there are usually special toys and educational devices. Parents go to great lengths to provide and adapt toys that may interest their children and take their minds off all the medical procedures. In short, very little on the inside of the house looks like a typical house. But I don’t think things have to be like that.
I believe that with some creative, out-of-the-box thinking, rooms and houses could be designed to contain all the necessary medical equipment and supplies without those things taking over the inside of the house. I’m sure storage systems could be designed and built that would help parents organize the medical items, leaving children’s bedrooms looking more like a typical child’s bedroom. Just imagine how depressing it would be for you as an adult to have to look at lots and lots of medical supplies all the time when you were in your home.
So, if anyone knows of a creative thinking designer, or better yet, a design student whose opinions and ideas are still fluid and new, please let me know. I have just the house, just the child, for them to showcase their talents. No, it’s not my house. It’s for a child who could use a little more ‘child’ and a lot less ‘medical’ in her life.