We are so very honored to have just completed three top pediatric hospitals in Florida- each with their own approach and philosophy but with the same mission of delivering the best possible care to their young patients. You may have heard the saying before ”children are not small adults”. Nothing could be more true than when a child needs specialized healthcare like a surgical procedure, treatment for an infection, or a chronic illness. As a premier pediatric architecture firm, we integrate healthcare, education and the arts with an eye toward the children of the information age.
Pediatric patients require extra monitoring, specialized medications and personnel with the compassion to understand the needs of children. For example, hosipitalized children under 2 years of age require 45 % more routine nursing care than older kids. Children need a different bedside manner. They need child friendly terms like saying the blood pressure cuff is going to “give their arm a hug”. They often have trouble conveying the severity of their symptoms, instead of asking them to rate them on a scale of 1-10, they are asked to point to frowny faces. Children think about their bodies in a very literal and visual way.
Below is a snapshot of each of these distinctive children’s hospitals.
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital | Hollywood, Florida
More than a reference to the institution’s famous ballplayer namesake, the concept references the important role of different types of play in a child’s developmental health. The story is told throughout the LEED Gold hospital’s four floors, each of which focuses upon a specific type of play: the first floor being sports, the second – arts, the third is games, and the fourth dreams. Each has an appropriate dominant color, a related graphic pattern and an icon in the form of a silhouetted child engaged in that type of activity.
For example, on the medical-surgical floor, where it is generally desirable to encourage patients to get up and moving, the motif is games. The color palette of primarily high-energy orange and patterns of squares referencing game boards are integrated into floors and wall graphics. More than simply bright and energizing, they are used by staff as tools to encourage their young patients to engage in a therapeutic walk or activity.
On the floor with the oncology unit, where the children are less active, the motif is dreams; here, the dominant color is a softer blue, the imagery is of waves, and the icon is a kid in a cape who might wish to fly.
Nemours Children’s Hospital | Orlando, Florida
Dominant concerns in children’s hospital care here are to provide a seamlessly supportive experience for the patient, in which the stress of transition to and from inpatient status is minimized; to ease and reinforce the family’s presence and involvement; and to streamline and enhance the efforts of the clinicians.
Most notable in this project’s solution to these challenges is the alignment of outpatient and inpatient care in a single building, whereas these functions are typically housed separately. Outpatient clinics and inpatient rooms devoted to a particular medical specialty are located in adjacent wings of the same floor, with shared waiting spaces. This enables a consistent care team for both clinic visits and inpatient stays, encouraging familiarity and trust between them and the patient and family.
There are outdoor spaces for relaxation and active play including landscaped rooftop terraces, interactive water features, a discovery garden and an outdoor community stage for live performances. Patient rooms feature colorful, changeable LED lights and can be seen by airport visitors. Interior spaces strategically harvest daylight. Floor to ceiling windows provide patients with garden views. Service functions, located in the basement, ensure they do not intersect the paths of patients and families. The hospital’s 24-hour visiting policy led to design strategies, including patient rooms with overnight accommodations for parents, laundry, and concierge desk in the lobby of each patient floor. Lounges and playrooms give access to outdoor spaces for respite and active recreation.
The 60-acre greenfield site had very little vegetation. And as is typical in this humid subtropical region, it has a high water table. In response, a curving ramp raises the entry drive one level, allowing the daylight basement that accommodates the delivery and service functions. Rainwater drains naturally from rooftops and site into created bioswales and retention ponds. Intense sun is a major concern. Extensive solar studies not only allowed the landscape architecture to maximize agreeably shaded outdoor spaces, but also helped determine the design and placement of exterior shading devices that block direct sunlight while admitting abundant natural light to the building interior. Nemours is on track for LEED Gold certification.
Wolfson Children’s Hospital | Jacksonville, Florida
The Baptist Wolfson Tower is a Children’s and Adult Hospital that is part of the Baptist Health System and Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. The new tower is an extension of the existing hospital facilities in Downtown and presented some incredibly complex and tight constraints within an urban site. There were functional challenges as well with regards to the integrated pediatric and adult populations within one building. The pediatric hospital serves children within the pan-handle as well as South Georgia.
Each floor of the pediatric hospital consists of a carefully selected nature motif, including rivers, forests, and grasslands that reflect the nearby natural surroundings. Each room has floor to ceiling glass windows and its own animal theme. All of the pediatric rooms are family suites and 100 square feet bigger than their old rooms. The full bathrooms, refrigerators, safes and beds make it feel more like moving into a hotel than a hospital.
State-of-the-art neurosurgical and cardiovascular surgical suites are located on the second floor. The design of the surgical suites allows for MRI and CT scans during surgery and puts Wolfson among the few hospitals in the country with this capability. It is unique because it allows doctors, in the case of the iMRI, to take an MRI image of the brain immediately before and after surgery, in the same sterile operating room, instead of doing the procedure ahead of time and after in a separate area.
This makes for more efficient and accurate procedures as the surgical staff stabilize the child’s head and the child is transported (while still on the operating table) into the MRI machine. The images from the MRI are downloaded into the image guidance system, allowing the neurosurgeon to navigate in the patient’s brain with almost real time information and the incision is placed. Following the procedure the child is transported while still under anesthesia, to the MRI for a second imaging procedure before he ever leaves the operating room.
At Stanley Beaman & Sears, we are proud to be entering our third decade of practice. Throughout that time we have become a national leader in some of the most technically challenging and rigorous building types: healthcare, higher education, research institutions and pediatric healthcare.
By: Amy Blanco