The Healing Power of Design

John Blignaut

The CancerFree KIDS and Impact 100 Family Pet Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is the first pediatric hospital-based facility in the United States to reunite patients with their own pets. The program is aimed at inpatients with long-term stays who are well enough to take a journey through the corridors and elevators to the Family Pet Center, which is located immediately outside the hospital building. The research indicates that these visits greatly benefit both patients and family members and that its positive effects have a three-fold benefit. First there is the anticipation of the visit. Then there is the actual visit itself, followed by the joyful memories and storytelling that follows.

In this context, the design of the venue where the reunion occurs plays a crucial role. A memorable inspiring place has the power to enhance the experience, and thereby bring value in the psychological uplift that it enables. This paper will discuss methods used for creating a place that enriches this unique experience and can act as a catalyst for healing.

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