St. Elizabeth’s goal is to be the destination of choice in their region for cancer patients. Located at their Edgewood Hospital campus, the cancer program had outgrown their previous space and had become dispersed. This new 236,000 sf cancer center consolidates all services under one roof and promotes a compassionate place for wellness; provides flexible growth for future programs; promotes collaboration between medical staff; and inspires brand confidence. The design uses a combination of natural materials, soft geometry and emphasis on daylight create compassionate environments to elevate the patient and staff experience.
St. Elizabeth had a strong vision of a state-of-the-art facility with modern amenities, a distinct palette of bold colors and nature-inspired finishes to provide a unique patient experience.
Site restraints, the addition of program elements to an existing facility, and designing for a new brand were the top design challenges for the St. Elizabeth Cancer Center. The site is surrounded by the primary ring road and access to the hospital which limited the shape of the building, but ultimately worked to the advantage of the program and built environment. It forced a gentle bend in the architecture which maximizes visibility to the cancer center entry and also provides more expansive views of the surrounding rolling hills and golf course nearby. The additional site constraint and challenge of this being an addition to an existing facility significantly impacted adjacencies that were thoughtfully incorporated for the best flow from the existing environment to the new.
The client's vision was to create an iconic building that promotes a calm and compassionate environment for wellness, with a distinct and prominent presence. A natural material palette with varying textures and colors relating to nature, such as the limestone cladding on the exterior or the wood ceiling within, provides a neutral foundation palette to compliment the soft and inviting language of the architecture.
Upon arrival, guests are greeted with a light and bright interior, including a ceiling feature to captivate and draw them inward. A registration desk is within this open volume for easy visibility from all access points into the lobby, allowing patients and families a sense of comfort and guidance at their first stop within the building. The use of wood ceiling elements in combination with backlit perforated metal insets and cove lighting, creates a warm, welcoming, and hopeful first impression.
As patients and families progress through the building to exam rooms, imaging suites, or an infusion bay, they are met with an increase in color play to aid in wayfinding. Color blocking was a strategic use to differentiate the exam suites, where a bolder and more saturated palette highlighted patient-facing corridors. A more subtle take on the color variation within the infusion suite to provides a more calming environment where patients tend to have a longer length of stay often met with high anxiety and stress. The softer, natural palette and expansive views to the exterior were important considerations and were implemented to incorporate evidence-based design and best practices.
The design of the new cancer center is a significant benefit to the client for attracting and retaining top talent. The staff at St. Elizabeth are incredibly passionate and their new environment fosters that passion and cultivates an atmosphere where collaboration, compassion, and excellent patient care thrive.
KEY FINDINGS, MEASURABLE RESULTS, AND/OR NEXT STEPS
To determine the layout of the new infusion space, we conducted a study of existing open bay and semi-private bay designs to compare staff workflow, communication and collaboration, and staff and patient satisfaction. Some of the data indicated room for improvement in charting access, hand washing sinks near the point of care, and access to the pharmacist.
The baseline data gathered through this study will be compared to data generated from a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) of the new infusion center. The new center has five infusion pods, each with 10 semi-private bays with chairside charting, two private rooms, an embedded pharmacist, and a nursing station. An important goal of the POE will be to assess the influence of design decisions, informed by this case study, on activity and workflow patterns, as well as satisfaction.