The Impact of a Family-Friendly Hospital: A Patient Perspective

Dorte Buchwald*, Ditte Buchwald, Dorte Melgaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


INTRODUCTION: When a seriously ill and dying parent is hospitalized, the families are at risk of developing problems. Only sparse evidence is available on the effects of creating family-friendly rooms in hospitals.

AIM: This study investigates how a seriously ill parent to children aged 0-18 experiences staying in a hospital room with family-friendly furnishing.

METHODS: From September 2012 to September 2015, seriously ill and dying patients with children ages 0-18 were offered the opportunity to stay in a family-friendly room at the North Denmark Regional Hospital. The sick parents were interviewed about how the changed room impacted themselves, their children, and their family.

RESULTS: The analysis led to three themes: (1) The ability to visit a sick parent, (2) maintaining family functions and relationships, and (3) room for children and adults.

CONCLUSION: By offering the families a hospital room with cozy furniture and a big TV screen, seriously ill parents see that their children are more comfortable when visiting the hospital. A family-friendly hospital is not just an idealistic thought, it is a real opportunity to improve the final period of a dying parent's life.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • children
  • design
  • end of life
  • family
  • palliation
  • patient-/person-centered care


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