GRESHAM SMITH & PARTNERS
Firm's role on the project: Planning, Programming, Architecture, Design, Interiors
This project involved the renovation of the existing Adler Building with a new entry addition to create an identifiable and convenient birthing center with all services in one building. Team members used the EBD Checklist Tool to identify more than 20 design goals. These included increased social support, increased bedside time, decreased stress, and improved communication.
Literature informed many of the project’s design decisions. However, the team desired additional data, so other, more ‘hands-on’ data collection methods were utilized. For example, pre-design surveys were completed by staff members and physicians to understand their vision for the new women’s center and perceptions of current work environment attributes. Three team members completed several hours of nurse shadowing to gain greater insight into staff operations. Team members, including some physicians, toured four women’s centers, which afforded the opportunity to see design innovation in practice as well as talk with clinicians about their processes and “success stories.” Prior to selecting the sites, benchmarking data were collected. Additionally, hospital staff interviewed 70 post-partum patients and 30 parents of NICU babies. Process mapping further helped staff members optimize clinical processes made possible by the new design.
The final design was a patient-and family-centered women’s center with a distinct family zone in each patient room. The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) design boasts all private rooms that offer patients greater control over ambient conditions and increase privacy for breastfeeding and kangaroo care. A healing garden with sibling play area provides a positive distraction to laboring moms, family members and staff and provides access to the soothing power of nature.