Recess for families with chronically ill and/or disabled (CID) children

HANAMI _ a healing escape

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Due to the numerous problems families with chronically ill and/or disabled (CID) children encounter in their daily lives, taking a break from the ongoing care and worries becomes even more important for them than for “typical” families. However, travelling is related to many more complex difficulties since their sick child is usually reliant on very specific equipment. So far, the literature focuses on the consequence of the high care needs on the family system, the development of Dutch holiday parks and the spatial needs for the target group, but the combination of these elements has not been analysed in the architectural context before. Thus, this project’s goal is to provide caregivers with relief by creating an opportunity of real recess from constant care for the child, through architectural solutions and thereby improving their well-being.
This thesis investigates how the architectural environment of a retreat for families with disabled and/or chronically ill (CID) children can provide relaxing time together while supplying a potential benefit for the child.
To determine what a potential recess environment for families with CID children should look like, special attention is paid to the analysis of past architectural solutions, the spatial needs of the target group and on analysing how the architectural environment can provide a benefit for the child and its entourage. To that end, several methods were used. First and foremost, observations were made during a fieldwork at a daycare facility for disabled children in Luxembourg. During this fieldwork, the possibility was given to talk to staff members like therapists and nurses and see several treatment rooms for the children. Furthermore, talking to parents of CID children provided valuable knowledge and insights to their lives. Lastly through the use of surveys additional information for example regarding the well siblings needs were gathered.
The outcome of these investigations shows that several design guidelines can be developed. Those can be classified into different levels of detail, such as guidelines on an urban level, for the neighbourhood’s design and focussing on the interior, and they offer insights into the ideal architectural setting for a recess centre for families with CID children.