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The Sheltering Arms Institute: A Rehabilitation Hospital that Sets the Bar for Patient Experience and the Future of Care

The Sheltering Arms Institute (SAI) is a new 25-acre campus development on the west side of Richmond, Virginia. HDR planned and designed the Institute to operate according to the VCU Health Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) model and spinal cord model systems of care, and it is one of only four facilities in the USA with this dual designation. The design philosophy for the new rehabilitation hospital revolved around the idea of the building as a multi-faceted therapeutic tool promoting a supportive and inspiring community of patients and caregivers, reinventing rehabilitation for “life beyond limits.” The design integrates research with clinical care and incorporates the latest rehabilitative innovations and technologies. HDR’s multi-method evaluation research, including a rare opportunity to interview patients during their stay at the facility, indicates positive impacts on clinical practice and quality of the patient and family therapeutic experience.