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Journal Article

Sense and Sensibilities: In Search of the Child-Friendly Hospital

JO BIRCH, PENNY CURTIS and ALLISON JAMES
Built Environment (1978-)
Vol. 33, No. 4, Children, Young People and Built Environments (2007), pp. 405-416
Published by: Alexandrine Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23289815
Page Count: 12
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Sense and Sensibilities: In Search of the Child-Friendly Hospital
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Abstract

In this paper we explore children's and young people's views about the ambient aspects of hospital environments, drawing on data generated in an ESRC funded study, Space to Care. Participant observation and mapping of movements and activities within hospital spaces were undertaken alongside interviews with 255 children and young people aged between 4 and 16 years of age. Data collection took place in outpatients' departments and wards across three hospitals in northern and central England. Findings revealed children's and young people's concern about noise and the extent to which lighting in the bed area could be controlled. However, they did not express much concern about many issues which dominate the current (adult-centred) hospital design agenda. By contrast, they were very concerned about the age-associated characteristics of hospital spaces which are conveyed through design, finish and décor. These findings demonstrate the importance of taking into account children's and young people's views about hospital environments if these aspects of the built environment are to aspire to being child friendly.

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