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Akron Children's Hospital, Akron, Ohio

June 2015
EDAC Advocate Firm Project
Akron Children's Hospital, Akron Ohio

HKs architects and hasenstab architects

Firm's role on the project: Implement all-private patient room units. 

EBD Goal

To design a 20,575-sf build-out of a high-risk obstetrics unit at Akron Children's Hospital, providing an adult-focused patient experience within a pediatric facility.


This project was to complete the interior finish of a shelled floor in a buidling that is currently under construction.  The infrastructure and overall footprint had already been defined and influenced room placement, key adjacencies and supply flow throughout the new deparetment.  Obstetrics is a brand new service within Akron Children's Hospital, which required time at the beginning to establish and understand the hospital's vision, goals and mission for this new service line.  Extensive research and market studies were completed by the hospital to recognize and define the opportunity to create a service line for the Akron area that had not existed before: a location where high-risk births could take place where both mother and baby would receive care and recover under one roof.


To achieve the team’s goals, the architect planners and service line representatives began with lean training, reviewed the available body of evidence for leading practices and conducted site visits. They began with process mapping to define future workflows, implemented paper doll exercises to study plan and adjacency options, drew spaghetti diagrams to test options against the seven flows of healthcare and built full-scale mockups of the entire unit for scenario testing. All members of the integrated lean project delivery team contributed to the design, including the NICU staff, obstetricians, OB staff, support services staff and families.

Use of the full-scale mock-ups provided the obstetric representatives with an opportunity to test future-state operational processes. This testing led to many design decisions including, the placement of the infant resuscitation space immediately adjacent to all four C-section operating rooms, outfitting one operating room to flex into an NICU procedure room and placed operating rooms along a short, straight path of travel from the elevators making transport of an infant to the NICU on the floor above a quick task. Private triage and recovery rooms were planned to be interchangeable, so the new department could open with minimal rooms while waiting for the service line to grow. The planned phasing and time needed to see an increase in volumes required the patient room to be designed for an LDR (labor, delivery, recovery) model upon opening and an LDR /Post-Partum model after patient volumes increased.

Another key focus was a separate family lounge on the unit, with many homelike amenities to enhance the patient and family experience during a time that can be both exciting and stressful.


After occupancy, an evaluation is planned to analyze the benefits of evidence-based design and lean processes, and the full-scale mock-up used to design the space.

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