The UIC Hospital Parent Lounge Remodel

I try not to spend a lot of time in hospitals.

I have nothing against them – other than the needles and blood. I have therefore never had an interest in pursuing healthcare design. It made me squeamish just thinking about it. But after visiting D4D’s remodel of the UIC Hospital Parent Lounge, I realized healthcare design covers much more than the operating rooms.

No one ever tells you about the other side of hospitals. Waiting for medicine to work, for the surgery to be over, for the recovery to begin… there’s a lot of time spent doing nothing. Left unattended, this empty time can become overwhelming. It is our job as designers to stop that from happening. Spaces that welcome those in waiting can make the waiting experience much more inviting. Waiting can be a chance to relax and refresh rather than stress. Keeping this in mind, D4D is beginning to remodel what it means to be waiting.

The space will include a kitchenette, storage for toys, and relaxed seating. A wood-grain vinyl floor and pictures of nature add a touch of nature. After all, there are proven health benefits to surrounding yourself with nature. Working with the hospital to take advantage of the resources they already have, the design is able to relate to the rest of the space while giving it a new feeling of peace in their temporary home away from home.

Although the lounge is still under construction and blocked off to the public, you can still sense the curiosity of onlookers as we walked into the room. They know a remodel is occurring, but they don’t know the final plan. It’s these moments that make working at D4D so exciting, knowing that D4D is behind a plan to make the lives of so many better. There’s always two sides to a story – it’s just about which side you choose to take.

Erin Socha