Practitioners and caregivers views on improving the built environment of paediatric oncology facilities : towards a holistic design for a paediatric oncology unit, Pietermaritzburg.
Da Silva, Henrique Jose Fernandes.
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This study examines the architectural essence of a built environment design, which may positively contribute towards the effective treatment of paediatric oncology patients. The design of the built environment may affect an occupant in various ways - physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. Attention to the built environment design is thus merited because paediatric oncology patients are vulnerable – not only are there difficulties associated with this specific illness, but there is a link between these difficulties and quality infrastructure for paediatric oncology patients. The material from built environments for healthy children may contribute to the design of a new holistic paediatric oncology, according to latest academic research. The healthcare environment has improved vastly in the past few decades. Academics have underscored that although there have been advances in design and healthcare, the design of built environments for children with cancer is an area that still requires further attention. Children are the ultimate end-users of the paediatric oncology built environment, but research is difficult as this is a sensitive patient group. Current design considerations in the paediatric oncology environment are based on adult research, but these are ultimately not suited to the needs of paediatric oncology patients. Modern insights into healthcare deviate from the pathogenic approach to the concept of the holistic healthcare model, of which the latter focuses on the whole needs of the patient and no longer only the physical. The holistic approach moves away from the institutional to a ‘home-like’ designed built environment which promotes holistic healing. This study intends to research and establish an understanding of the needs of the paediatric oncology population to develop a new design typology based on the patients’ needs. Observations and assessments are conducted to identify the advantages and disadvantages of the current facilities. This study includes research conducted by means of interviews with professionals and caregivers, a review of the existing literature on the subject matter, through case studies, and precedent examples. The results of the research inform a set of principles and criteria for the design of a new paediatric oncology typology in Pietermaritzburg.