HCD conference preview: Design, operational considerations for pediatric mental health

The 2022 Healthcare Design Conference + Expo will be held October 8-11 in San Antonio. The annual event will offer a variety of keynote and breakout sessions on a range of topics.

Healthy design previews some of the upcoming educational sessions in a series of Q+As with speakers, sharing what they plan to discuss and key takeaways they plan to offer attendees.

Session: Design and Operational Considerations for Pediatric Mental Health, October 11, 9:30-10:30am

Do you speak: Frances Pitts, Director, Architecture+; Sherry Reyes, Behavioral Health Consultant, Human eXperience.

This presentation will discuss the unique challenges of pediatric mental health treatment design. The discussion will include

the unique design challenges, but also the role of operations in informing design and programmatic decisions to deliver projects that are clinically effective and financially viable.

Healthy design: What changes have you noticed in recent years in the way health care systems talk about or deal with children’s mental health?

Frank Pitts and Sherry Reyes: It’s a trifecta. Many health systems are:

  1. Now we’re talking about dealing with mental health.
  2. Many hospital emergency departments, medical/surgical floors, and first responders provide unprecedented levels of care for children and adolescents with higher acuity as well. This has led to an exponential increase in staffing costs and a drain on valuable hospital resources.
  3. Many hospital systems are actively trying to translate the increased demands into opportunities to serve children and adolescents in psychiatric crisis into a safer, more therapeutic, and financially viable continuum of care.

What’s up eIs designing for mental illness for young people different from designing for adults?

Pitts and Reyes: Operational thinking is similar. Hospitals must first understand who they are treating in terms of age and diagnoses, while also considering treatment resources and the hospital’s operational and financial goals.

Children and adolescents experience a range of diagnostic and treatment needs within an inpatient setting. To enable evidence-based treatments targeted to each diagnostic population while addressing behavioral challenges when possible, cohorting of children into groups based on age and diagnostic needs is indicated.

We can also take nothing for granted when designing spaces for young people in terms of safety and supervision. They are more creative and motivated to find the weak spots in the environment and then create their own fun. They are smarter than us and that should keep us on our toes.

What are some alternative treatment settings that are better suited to serving young patients?

Pitts and Reyes: Systems that have supported the development of a full continuum of mental health care have the greatest flexibility and agility to ensure they have the most responsive levels of care and staff resources to support children in the least restrictive way possible. program.

There are children’s hospitals that are improving the continuum of care to include alternative treatments consistent with current clinical research (eg, electroconvulsive therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, infusion therapies), outside of traditional pediatric psychiatric emergency departments, inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and traditional outpatient services.

Clinically, involving children’s families in treatment is the best way to support meaningful and effective treatment plans for children. Mental health design synchronizes the clinical needs of children and families with the built environment.

This is achieved by providing a diverse range of family facilities ranging from family education centres, family lounges on inpatient floors, supervised sibling play space, parent couches in inpatient rooms and purpose-built Ronald McDonald support facilities.

What is the takeaway from your session that you hope attendees will walk away with?

Pitts and Reyes: There is no one-size-fits-all solution to mental health. Each facility has different needs that vary by hospital, market and country. Understanding each hospital’s specific clinical, operational and financial challenges and opportunities is essential to creating solutions that meet the real needs of children, families, the hospital and the community.

For more information on the HCD conference schedule and registration, visit www.hcdexpo.com.

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