Co-designing a healing environment for PICU families and staff

The experience of parents and families with a child in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) can never be easy, but it can be improved using good, informed design. With experience and specialities in interior architecture, visual communication design, videography, and design-led innovation, the QUT HEAL team are working with staff and parents (past and current) to co-design a healing environment for families and staff in the PICU at the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Who was involved?

Key staff from the PICU Liberation initiative at the Brisbane Children’s Hospital including Jane Harnischfeger, Associate Professor Debbie Long, Ali Ferguson and Dr Michaela Waak have become an integral support to the HEAL Project Team. Led by Dr Natalie Wright, the QUT Design Lab team includes Dr Anastasia Tyurina, Dr Judy Matthews, two HEAL HDR student interns – Sarah Johnstone and Leighann Ness Wilson – plus videographer Guy Lobwein and Professor Evonne Miller (co-Director, HEAL).

What was the process?

Due to the complex nature of this project in terms of location and focus (the parents of critically ill children), three engagement and storytelling strategies have been designed. These include interactive static displays, a parent pack and a series of pop up activities in the form of a Market-Place, held over the course of 2 days where PICU parents and staff could drop-in and participate at a time that suited them. The parent pack is currently being re-imagined as an online interactive experience so that past PICU-parents can voice their ideas regardless of where in Queensland they reside.

What were the outcomes?

The detailed engagement and storytelling strategies will inform an Interior Design and Wayfinding Concept Proposal to activate and re-imagine key areas of shared spaces as well as concepts for more long-term strategies for communication to parents and families in PICU.

Paediatric Intensive Care Unit