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Briefing a children’s hospice: bridging the evidence gap and redefining value in contemporary healthcare design

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2020

Rebecca McLaughlan
Alan Pert


Increasingly, healthcare providers are asking for evidence based design solutions in the construction of new facilities. But where does a designer begin when there is no credible evidence to support the design process because it has yet to gain the attention of researchers? Within this paper we reflect on a university-practice partnership undertaken to provide a feasibility study for the future redevelopment of an eight-bed paediatric hospice in Australia. In embarking on this project, the project team assumed that a thorough literature review would furnish a body of research to rigorously inform the feasibility study. The realisation that this research was not available necessitated an evidence gathering process from first principles, where methods from academic practice required translation and customisation to fit within commercial time frames and resourcing constraints. This article recommends a selection of research methods for use by architects working within healthcare settings where foundational research to inform the design process is not available. It also argues for a re-conceptualisation of the built environment’s value relative to wellbeing.

© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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