Hans and his parents, little sister, little brother, and their puppy recently moved from Chicago to rural Minnesota to be closer to friends and family. Since their arrival, they have been working to make a home that will be fun and restful for everyone.
Leaving the house can be difficult for Hans and his family, so the home is open to many guests. Daily visitors include nurses, support staff, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who come to work, play, help out, and spend time with the family.
Hans is a medically-complex disabled boy who qualifies for hospital-level care to keep him safe and healthy. And, as the rigors of institutional care clashed with the rhythms of everyday family life, his parents determined the home environment no longer supported his needs. Allison, Han's mom, shared, "Joy Collaborative's goal to improve lives through exceptional design resonated with my family's needs. So I reached out."
"My home needs to function as a hospital," Allison continued, "and my DIY solutions were clumsy bandaids to a lifelong truth: we will always have nurses in our home." Allison continued. "Our house needs to support nurses' administrative needs and comfort alongside all the medical equipment required to help Hans thrive."
Once the family met with the Joy Collaborative team, it became clear that strategic and creative design solutions would balance the medical requirements and Hans's need for a youthful, joyous space. "The multifunctional space also needed to include Hans in social gatherings while signaling to kids and adults how to interact with him and the staff."
As society grapples with a new wave of inclusion efforts, Joy Collaborative is tackling the tough and necessary question of how to redesign spaces to be universally accessible. It starts at home, one room at a time. In the case of Hans, his room is set to become a beautiful, efficient workspace, cozy retreat for Hans, and a comfortable and welcoming hub to friends and family.
Hans has a rare combination of GI issues, pain, epilepsy, insomnia, cerebral palsy combined with severe self-injurious behavior. His symptoms are rare, challenging, and extremely hard to treat.