SHI Blog

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Project Update: SHI and KCAD at FSU

Exciting projects are in the works with students from Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) and Spectrum Health Innovations (SHI). Spectrum Health Innovations is thrilled to be partnering with KCAD for the third year in a row. Students from interior design, industrial design, photography, and digital media will have the pleasure of working with Spectrum Health medical professionals and Spectrum Health Innovations. For KCAD students, this will be an exceptionally busy year.

One of the unique aspects of the collaboration is that many students will be continuing projects that other KCAD students have previously worked on. A fresh set of eyes can really take the project to the next level.

The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit Room Design

The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) room design project is just one example of the ongoing projects that KCAD students will be working on this year. September marks one year since the redesign, development, and creation of the EMU. Kirsten Pappas, an interior design student, will take on the next step in the EMU journey. After much hard work and several feedback sessions facilitated by Kris Emery, clinical innovation specialist at SHI, the room is ready to be refined.

Kirsten is looking forward to continuing the project.

“I am really excited to be part of such a new and innovative project here at Spectrum Health. The health care industry in general is putting emphasis on a “patient centered design” which is an awareness of the patient’s environment and the importance, along with the impact on the patient and their family. However, making the design specific to a condition, such as epilepsy, is a new concept.”

Over the semester, Kirsten will be compiling, analyzing, and reviewing the feedback that was given this past summer from medical professionals at Spectrum Health. In combination with the feedback, further evidence based research will be conducted to support any recommendations that she might have.

Lee Davis, Professor of interior design says,

“With projects, students are able to come away with the breadth of their capability. They may not understand how much work that it will encompass, and how far this will reach people. It’s pretty cool work.”

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit Bathroom

The redesigns have focused on the EMU patient room which has seen much progress over the year, but now it is time to tackle the bathroom redesign. KCAD students, Kirsten, an interior design student and Kim, an industrial design student, have been tasked with the challenge to create a design that is seizure friendly for patients. Out of the entire room, this will be the most difficult in terms of a complete redesign.

From left, Kim Dobrez, Kirsten Pappas, Kris Emery.

Kirsten calls this section of the EMU “uncharted territory” simply because of the strict state laws and hospital guidelines. Not to mention, most falls that happen in a hospital occur in the bathroom.

Rather than the traditional hard surface, the students will be looking for a more forgiving surface. The ultimate concern is patient safety, while still being able to maintain mobility.

Kim understands the value that patients will receive from the new design.

“I think the bathroom redesign will benefit patients in several ways, like maintaining independence. It’s important to have an environment that makes you feel like you still have control over your life.”

Without a doubt, Kirsten and Kim will have to think out of the box on this one. The biggest challenge is finding a material that will be both a benefit to the patient and code compliant.

Spark Session participants

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit Patient Education Video

In the meantime, medical professionals responsible for epilepsy have sought after a way to better educate the current EMU process. Ashley Kalin, a digital media student, found the most effective way was by means of a short video.

She says, “Visiting the EMU can be intimidating and most often people don’t understand what is involved. This way there aren’t any surprises.”



SHI is looking forward to another year of refining the EMU and improving the lives of epilepsy patients. For follow up stories, stay connected by viewing our blog.