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Local mom helping design new Grande Prairie Hospital

Since her son Jacob was born premature in 2008, Alison Martens has spent more than three months total in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Now, she’s been asked to give her input on what she’d like to see at the new Grande Prairie Regional Hospital, set to open in 2017.

Martens explains there’s often things that patients and visitors think of that an architect might not.

“Basic things like the layout of the electrical in the room so that there’s access for parents to have their own lighting systems; we all have some type of device that our lives depend on. Somewhere to put personal belongings, somewhere where you can change in private.”

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Privacy curtains and personal bathrooms are also among Martens’ suggestions to help families feel more comfortable.

New hospital operational lead Diana Gitzel says feedback like that has been invaluable, and will help plan the new facility.

Martens hopes that goes even further, and the practice becomes more wide-spread.

“I hope that in 10 to 15 years, having family representatives at the table for designs of new health care facilities is the norm, as it should be. We are a stakeholder; how the building is put together does affect our lives. It affects our experience within the walls and on the outside too.”

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