Hospital room changes could help epilepsy patients

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A group of Kendall College of Art and Design students are collaborating on a project with Spectrum Health Innovations that could help patients with epilepsy.

The students are working on plans for a hospital room redesign in Spectrum Health’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, or EMU.

Spectrum Health Neurologist and Epileptologist Dr. Ayman Haykal said some patients check in to the EMU and stay until they have a seizure, which provides doctors with information about where the seizure originates and decide on a treatment plan.

However for safety reasons, epilepsy patients are mostly confined to their bed during their stay.

Dr. Haykal said without stress, movement and other environmental factors that can trigger seizures the patients can wait for days in the EMU, or not have a seizure at all.

Without a seizure occurring the doctors don’t get the information they need to help the patient.

The group of KCAD students are designing a hospital room that would allow movement and provide natural light, patterns and other potential seizure triggers for patients.

“If we change how the room is designed, if we make sure the room is safe and allow the patient to move around and do more stuff then than they do now then we might be more successful in provoking seizures,” Haykal said.

The students came up with a room without sharp edges, cushioned flooring and other safety features for patients with epilepsy.

“One of the things we came up with was a bed that doubles as a couch,” Justin Beitzel, a KCAD Industrial Design student said. “They could use it during the day to feel comfortable and safe in their environment, but if they have an episode they can lay down and it raises up.”

A new kind of hospital room that could get patients with epilepsy answers sooner.

“To help develop something that can enhance those folks’ lives or improve lives is exciting,” Steve Heacock, the president of Spectrum Health Innovations said. “I thought the design was beautiful. It was very functional and I’m very excited to see it actually come to fruition and use in the system.”

The KCAD professors involved in the project said it’s a great experience for their students.

“Part of what makes this special is that the ideas won’t finish when the class finishes, they’ll continue to move on,” Jon Moroney, Associate Professor of Industrial Design at KCAD said.

Later this week students will mock up a real hospital room with their design to see what it could look like if it eventually becomes a reality.

———Online: Spectrum Health Innovations

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