The AZ Jan Palfijn aims to create a child-friendly living environment to contribute to the healthy development of children, in which they can experience that illness and hospital life are inherently connected. From this vision developed the question of how the current hospital environment -and infrastructure-can be adapted so that the child, as a patient or as a visitor, feels more welcome and comfortable. To answer such questions creatively and artistically, AZ Jan Palfijn turned to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Option Interior Design. The proposed staff of this department, together with a number of students, will design a concept that meets the desired, in this case more child-friendly hospital environment that promotes children's subjective sense of well-being in a hospital. 

However, the realisation of such a project requires some prior knowledge about pre-existing studies that have investigated the influence of design, interiors and art on children's perception within a hospital environment, as well as how this perception can be positively adjusted. It is on the basis of this evidence-based information that a responsible template can be developed that indicates which criteria a child-friendly hospital should meet. In order to gather this prior knowledge and evidence in a scientific way, a research study will be organised in a first phase in cooperation with the Faculty of Psychology & Educational Sciences of Ghent University. 

This research will include both a literature review and an empirical study. Based on the results of both lines of research, a number of guidelines will be formulated to serve as concrete handles for the design of a child-friendly hospital environment. Using these guidelines as a guideline, Hogeschool Gent, option Interior Design, wants to propose, implement and supervise concrete interior adjustments in which we try to positively influence the hospital environment and thus increase children's well-being. Other options, both within the department (graphic and advertising design, textile design, fashion, film, animation, visual arts, etc.) and across the department (drama conservatory, etc.) can be used for support and thus contribute to a better overall concept. 

At the end of the project's realisation, an evaluation module will be compiled in cooperation with the Faculty of Psychology & Educational Sciences, in which the extent to which the proposed objective has been achieved will be examined. The added value of this project for Hogeschool Gent can be situated in an umbrella cooperation with AZ Jan Palfijn and the University of Ghent, whereby the creativity of the Interior Design Department can grow on the basis of well-founded scientific findings and thus result in a responsible concept with positive implications for the well-being of children in a hospital.

Kindvriendelijk ziekenhuis

Het belang van interieurvormgeving en kunst op de ziekenhuisbeleving van kinderen
project team
Jan De Pauw, Leen De Wilde, Jozefien Muylle, Kurt Van Maldegem, Tamara Haegeman
01.01.2009 – 30.05.2012