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St. Anthony Hospital, Lakewood, CO

September 2011
EDAC Advocate Firm Project
Earl Swensson Associates


Firm's role on the project:  Planning, Programming, Architecture, Design, Interiors 

EBD Goal

During early programming phases, St. Anthony Hospital leadership made the commitment to use an evidence-based design process, and the following planning objectives were established:

  •  Clear patient wayfinding
  •  Distinct separation of inpatient/service flow versus public/visitor flow
  •  Patient access to clinical services
  •  Clear access to primary patient service entrances
  •  Staff operational efficiencies
  •  Reduction of falls and injuries
  •  Visibility across the patient unit within the support core.


It was important for the owner, design team, and project manager to agree on the goals for this project and to remain focused on these goals for the duration of the project. A contributing key factor was the completion of a “best practices” tour of notable new hospitals across the country to identify consistent themes being implemented, and gain feedback from staff in those facilities regarding what was working well and recommendations for improvement. The team worked together to protect key design concepts supporting the primary goals of the project. The pricing became challenging during project cost reduction discussions.


The need for nursing and medical staff to see, find, and access one another was an important project goal. Engineers were challenged to minimize space needs in these support cores, which are typically full of mechanical chases, electrical rooms, and other opaque rooms that are difficult to see or pass through in patient wings. Consequently, the support zones in the new hospital are more transparent and accessible, and the majority of this space is reserved for nurse work zones and support spaces accessible at both sides, minimizing travel distances for staff supporting patient needs on both sides of the units.
Examples of EBD concepts supporting the project’s goals and promoting patient and staff safety include:

  • Grab bars between the patient’s bed and bathroom
  • Patient lifts above beds
  • Consistent patient room and support space layouts
  • View alcoves to patient rooms
  • Bathrooms located on outside walls to bring in natural light
  • Double doors to patient rooms for improved visibility and access
  • Staff oasis rooms
  • Depressed shower floor slabs to avoid potential trip hazard of shower curbs
  • Automated vacuum system for transporting dirty linen and trash from patient care areas to the loading dock.