Designing for a New Model of Healthcare Delivery

Dec 01, 1999

A growing body of research is demonstrating that a patient-oriented, family-friendly method of delivering medical care helps patients get healthier more quickly. The concept of a holistic, healing environment-in which technology, service delivery, design, and the environment work together to benefit patients-is therefore attracting increased attention among healthcare design professionals. Clarian Health Partners Inc. of Indianapolis wanted to adopt this approach to patient care in the new cardiac critical care facility at one of its Indianapolis hospitals, Methodist Hospital of Indiana. Clarian Health charged its Indianapolis-based architectural and engineering firm, BSA Design Inc., with turning this vision into reality and doing it on a fast track of about 12 months. Designing what became Methodist’s Cardiac Comprehensive Critical Care unit required outside-the-box thinking, constant communication among all parties, and a participatory process that encouraged the nurses who would work in the unit to become very involved in planning the project. The unit began accepting patients in February 1999. Although it is too early for quantitative results, anecdotal evidence in the 90 days of operation indicates it has more than fulfilled Clarian Health’s hopes of minimizing patient transfers while creating a high level of patient and family satisfaction. Everyone involved with this project believes its successes and lessons can be useful to other healthcare design teams as they work to produce more patient-friendly facilities.

Donald B. Altemeyer, AIA (BSA Design Inc.)
Todd M. Buerger, AIA (BSA Design Inc.)
Ann L. Hendrich, MSN, RN (Clarian Health)
Joy L. Fay, MS, RN (Cardiac Comprehensive Critical Care)
The Academy Journal of the Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH)
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
The American Institute of Architects

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