Most HGTV fans will agree that good design can improve one's state of mind. Designers at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore also believe it can help patients heal, which is why its new 1.6 million square-foot patient care building, scheduled to open in April 2012, features an elegant design with peace and quiet for patients as a priority.
In planning the building, architects, designers, doctors and nurses provided input with the comfort of the patients and their families in mind, and the result is a quiet, calm, and serene healing environment with a clean, contemporary edge. Visitors will sense the design inspiration as they pass the gardens outside and enter the large welcoming lobbies filled with natural light from the hospital's new main entrance at 1800 Orleans Street.
One of the new building's two 12-story towers will house The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children's Center, in honor of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's mother who died at age 102 earlier this year. The other tower will be named the Sheikh Zayed Tower for cardiovascular and critical care, honoring the late father of the president of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The upper floors feature 355 adult and 205 pediatric private -patient rooms that include private baths and in-room sleeping accommodations to allow a family member to spend the night by their loved one's side. For pediatric patients, a children's meditation room addresses their spiritual needs while a two-story indoor play area provides a space to get away from their room and just be a kid.
"While it would be impossible to have a child or an adult enjoy being in the hospital," said Director of Johns Hopkins Children's Center George Dover, "we have created an environment that is both soothing and quiet and will hopefully make the experience as pleasant as possible for our patients."
Guests familiar with traditional hospital environments will likely notice the lack of noise in the new building. Several design features have been implemented with that goal in mind. For example:
· Acoustical soffits, ceiling tiles and fabric-wrapped panels strategically placed to intercept and absorb sound.
· Decentralized work stations to bring clinical care providers closer to their patients rather than gathering in one central location with competing conversations.
· Dedicated, separate elevators for patient transport, supplies and visitors to cut down on foot traffic and noisy carts in patient areas.
· Hand-held mobile devices for clinical staff communication rather than overhead paging.
· Rubber floors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to further minimize the noise for the newborns.
"We wanted the baby to remain in a place as quiet as the womb as possible," said Senior Director of Architecture and Planning Michael Iati. "The entire building is designed around creating a positive patient experience."
The facility, erected on five acres, is believed to be the nation's largest hospital construction project. It will also have 33 state-of-the-art, spacious operating rooms, expansive adult and pediatric emergency departments, seven pharmacies, and the newest diagnostic imaging facilities including an intraoperative MRI scanner and other sophisticated technologies.
Public areas on the lower floors of the building will have a restaurant and food court, a resource library for patients and visitors, a gift shop, and a concierge desk.
The hospital's new main entrance will be larger than a football field, providing space for up to 200 cars to drop off and pick up patients. All entrances to the hospital, including the new Adult and Pediatric Emergency Departments, are located in this area for easy patient access. Valet service will be available, and parking is conveniently located across the street in the Orleans Street Garage, which will be connected to the hospital by two pedestrian bridges.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore