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Children's Hospice Care
Sharifi, Nahal Alsadat
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With advancements in medical technology, the mechanics of dying and death has changed significantly. Centuries ago, people mostly died of infectious diseases. From the time they were diagnosed, to the time of their death did not take long. Today, public health has improved remarkably. We have a better control over infectious diseases, but we have to deal with cancer and other chronic illnesses. The long period of treatment for such illnesses makes us spend a lot of our time in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, hospices, and care homes. Unfortunately, in many cases, these facilities do not pay much attention to emotional and spiritual needs of their patients and are mostly designed around their own institutional and technological needs. In that regard, these buildings become pretty awful places with no natural light and long corridors. Today, due to the nature of chronic diseases that we mostly deal with, hospice care facilities are becoming more popular. The idea of a hospice is to focus on quality of the place for families and patients who have already spent a lot of their time in a hospital setting. The goal is provide humane care for patients who do not have much time left, to make sure that they live the remainder of their lives as comfortably and as fully as possible. It is important to remember that when such facilities are designed for children, we need to pay extra attention to their unique needs. It is important to provide opportunities for children with terminal illnesses to continue to learn and grow. This thesis is exploration of an architectural setting in which children with a terminal prognosis would spend the last few weeks of their lives. Located in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, this project takes advantage of the existing nature of the site to create an oasis for families who have gone through an exhausting battle with an untreatable disease. The goal is to shift the focus from curing to healing and to create a nurturing place that helps to bring normalcy back to the lives of patients and their families.
- Masters Theses