Students design room for seizure patient safety

Kendall College partnered with Spectrum Health to redesign Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

Spectrum Health, Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, Kendall College of Art and Design
A mock-up of the Spectrum Health Epilepsy Monitoring Unit room designed by Kendall College students. (July 17, 2017)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A recent collaboration between students at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University and doctors at Spectrum Health is drawing the attention of a national organization for its cutting-edge approach to patient care.

The students developed plans for a hospital room redesign in the Spectrum Health Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, or EMU. The redesign is an effort to help get answers for epilepsy patients sooner while keeping them safe.

“There’s nothing I’ve seen that brings innovation and all of the technology and the necessary medical treatments that a family needs to have the best care. This is really unique,” Phil Gattone, CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation of America, said.

Gattone was invited to a Monday presentation and first look at a mock-up room redesign for the EMU. He said Spectrum’s partnership with Kendall is unique and he’s anxious to share the innovations with others in the epilepsy community.

Typically, patients check in to the EMU and stay several days until they have a seizure, which provides doctors with information to decide on a treatment plan. Neurologists at Spectrum say providing a safe, comfortable space is critical.

“Not only is this a patient-centric setup, but now we have things like smooth borders and that will reduce the risk of patient injury,” said Dr. David Burdette, a physician who treats epileptic patients.

The chairs in the room can double as a stretcher. Beds have 360-degree access. The room features soft edges, cushioned flooring and barrier-free bathroom designs.

“It is really about in this case the patient, the clinician, the nurses, the doctors and the family and friends,” Kendall College President Leslie Bellavance said.

Along with the Epilepsy Foundation, Spectrum has taken the work to several industry partners, including medical company Skytron and furniture maker Herman Miller hoping for a financial investment. If Spectrum is able to secure funding, the next step would be to build out two rooms, taking the project to a functioning level to see if it has an impact on patient care.