Originally published in Interiors & Sources

03/01/2008

Health Tech

Care center packs technology into a comforting, healing environment

By Julie Eisele

 

The new Patient Care Center on the St. Joseph Healthcare campus includes 150 inpatient beds as well as surgical prep and recovery areas. The building's elaborate glass exterior showcases quotes by Mother Bernard Gosselin, a leader with the Sisters of St. Joseph, a missionary group that helped found the original hospital.

Healthcare Design for the Future
Ever notice that many large healthcare facilities seem to be under chronic renovation? As the world of medicine changes and evolves quickly, so do design and architectural requirements.

"As architects, we are working with clinical programs that have life spans of 7 to 10 years, yet we incorporate these programs into buildings with a life span of 50 to 75 years or more," says Charles Martin, architect and principal at NBBJ, Seattle. "The challenge is to afford these buildings the adaptability and flexibility to accommodate frequent change." Martin was lead medical planner for St. Joseph Patient Care Center (PCC).

The remedy to these rapid changes - driven by clinical, technological, and business needs - is a flexible, modular approach to hospital design.

"We need to accommodate the more temporal qualities in the delivery of healthcare, and the St. Joseph's facility does that," Martin says.

For example, eight of the 14 new ORs in the PCC have a zone between them, centered between two individual ORs. These zones - areas of about 8 to 10 feet in width - are currently used for material support but can allow the ORs to be modified in the future to create "hybrid" ORs, where functions such as image-guided procedures may take place.


Fourteen new operating rooms use sophisticated technology that includes voice- and touch-screen controls, ceiling-mounted booms that reduce clutter and carry medical equipment, and audiovisual equipment that can broadcast procedures in real time.
©TIM GRIFFITH, COURTESY OF NBBJ
 

Increasingly, surgeons prefer to use real-time imaging during procedures. Likewise, radiologists are performing more and more procedures. The modular zones provide flexibility so that the ORs can be remodeled to accommodate future needs. "We can remodel these rooms without taking down another OR. We don't have to take three ORs down to build two image-guided procedure rooms," Martin says. This flexible approach allows for future modifications with minimal disruption to ongoing healthcare operations.

Most ORs are now equipped with a spate of audiovisual equipment that increases heat output and places heavier demands on mechanical systems. This trend will likely continue, as diagnostic equipment becomes more sophisticated and robotic surgery options grow. To address this, the HVAC systems at the PCC were oversized to meet future demands.

The installation of wireless technology is now a common factor in designing new healthcare facilities. Because wireless technology uses signals that travel by line of sight, ceiling plenum spaces are carefully designed to accommodate the signal. This requires delicate placement of mechanical ductwork and lighting fixtures, two common culprits that interfere with wireless technologies. St. Joseph is equipped with a Cisco Systems discreet wireless network that accommodates 802.11 wireless technologies. Applications range from wireless computer keyboards to capabilities such as wireless transmission digital X-rays and patient records and sophisticated wireless imaging equipment.

Most of today's patients and visitors expect Internet access. Wi-Fi is available in patient rooms but is also important in the delivery of patient care and data movement. "We have wireless capability across the board for not only telecommunications and data but also for medical devices," notes Chuck Coryell, director of design and construction for St. Joseph Hospital.

Adds Martin, "Wireless communication is an amenity that people expect. It's just the cost of doing business in today's healthcare market."

IMAGES

Like most new healthcare facilities, St. Joseph Hospital's Patient Care Center (PCC) in Orange, CA, boasts a wealth of sophisticated equipment, comforting user amenities, and energy-efficient technologies. But balancing a healing environment with mounds of technology that can never fail is no easy task. "It seems like we are building the space shuttle each time we do this," says Grant Gustafson, architect for the St. Joseph Hospital project and lead technical designer at NBBJ, Seattle.

Patient rooms emphasize a home-like atmosphere with such amenities as built-in desks and sleeping areas for visitors. Wireless technology throughout the building accommodates everything from visitor laptops and Blackberries to wireless diagnostic imaging machines. Operating room technology is packed into the walls and ceilings for easy, immediate access, with modular designs and booms that put equipment within reach and carry vital items such as gasses and surgical tools.

The PCC provides 150 inpatient beds - including an Intensive Care Unit and an Acute Patient Care Unit - and 14 operating rooms (ORs). The $130 million facility also houses separate surgical preparation and recovery areas for adults and children, an acute care nursing unit, an intensive care nursing unit, and a Central Surgical Sterilization and Supply Suite.

Late in 2007, the new 248,000-square-foot, four-level Patient Care Center (PCC) opened its doors, making St. Joseph Hospital the largest in Orange County.

Curtain Wall Calls
The PCC's most unusual - and striking - feature is its façade. An aluminum, plaster, and sweeping, etched-glass curtain wall features handwritten inscriptions from one of the hospital's founders as well as an image of the original hospital erected in the 1920s. The ornate cladding contains nearly 250 sheets of glass that vary in size from 2x5 to 9x5 feet.

"We were able to soften the building's exterior with the fritting on the glazing, which tells a story as it wraps around the structure," says Chuck Coryell, director of design and construction for St. Joseph Hospital. "The fritted message has been very well received. Otherwise it would be a very commercial or common-looking building."

The landmark glass façade features the 5-foot flowing, cursive handwriting of Mother Bernard Gosselin, a leader with the Sisters of St. Joseph, who expanded their ministry into Southern California in the 1920s to provide healthcare service with an emphasis on personal, social, and spiritual needs. The ministry founded St. Joseph Hospital more than 75 years ago, and the sisters' advocacy lives on as the healthcare campus is updated and expanded.

The script wraps around the building and contains such messages from Gosselin as "A compassionate presence" and "To assist and serve." An image of the original 1929 mission-style hospital and the St. Joseph Hospital logo are also etched onto the glass. "Mother Bernard Gosselin was the inspiration for the hospital. We tried to bring that forth in the new building," says Gustafson.

The etching was achieved using a special process similar to silk screening in which ceramic frit is applied to the glass to create lettering, images, and patterns. Frit, a granulated material used as the foundation for enamel or glaze, is pressed against glass and heat-treated so the frit forms a permanent bond to the glass. The process can produce high-resolution images and fine details. This type of glazing treatment also helps diffuse light and reduce solar heat gain by providing shade from the direct sun while also offering visual privacy for patient rooms.

The glass was fabricated in Seattle by Northwestern Industries and Laurel Graphics & Fabrication Co., also in Seattle. The etched glass was then placed within an inner layer of insulated glass. The materials were shipped to a curtain wall manufacturer, Sierra Aluminum, Riverside, CA, where the glass was encased in aluminum frames and shipped to Orange. The panels were installed adjacently by crane from the ground or by special equipment that was mounted on the rooftop.

Extensive coordination was required to align the glass so the design matched perfectly, says Todd Foos, assistant project manager for general contractor McCarthy Building Companies Inc., Newport Beach. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the only facility with a three-story silk screen exterior-glazed element that contains artwork to this extent," says Foos, whose favorite aspect of the project was the building's skin.

Structural silicone sealant and redundant clips retain the glass in the frame. Finding the best solution for stability was crucial, as construction of the PCC was part of a larger plan to update all patient facilities to comply with tougher earthquake preparedness legislation.

Step Inside
As impressive as the PCC's exterior is the networked technology within its walls. "There is so much packed into the walls and ceilings. Gas, power supplies, fresh air supplies, backup systems, communications. There are many needs to support the procedure areas," says Gustafson.

Of the 14 new ORs at St. Joseph Hospital, 12 are universal 600-square-foot rooms and two are 700-square-foot specialty ORs. Like the 12 smaller ORs, the specialty ORs accommodate virtually any procedure but are also equipped for specialty cardiovascular or neurovascular procedures. All ORs include 42-inch NEC LCD flat panel display monitors for surgeons' use during imaging, endoscopic, and laparoscopic procedures. Surgeries can also be broadcast virtually anywhere in real time, allowing specialized surgeons to assist and observe procedures. Each OR also has a Stryker digital file management system workstation for immediate access to patient information, says Coryell.

In the recovery areas, the hospital's design team placed great emphasis on making the patient experience as comfortable as possible. Interior elements include extensive use of daylight, use of soft paint and fabric, light panels above patient beds featuring nature scenes, and a multistory healing garden courtyard on the second floor that offers a spot for meditation. This interior light well is visible from some patient rooms and provides a relaxing landscape that includes trees, water, and pole-mounted architectural lights.

Lighting softens the interior atmosphere, reduces the "institutional" feel, and showcases architectural features and the richness of materials, says Melanie Taylor, lighting designer for the project and senior associate at NBBJ. The lobby - which serves as the "front door" for the entire St. Joseph campus - uses extensive daylighting with downlights to provide illumination. Within the rooms, patients control lighting levels for maximum comfort and energy savings. Fluorescent lights are used in most areas.

Healthy Inside and Out
It can be notoriously difficult for 24/7 operations such as hospitals to be sustainable, but the St. Joseph project team made every effort by selecting long-lasting, energy-efficient, natural materials. The lobby area features Jura stone tiles, a natural product. Forbo Marmoleum is used in patient rooms. Anti-static flooring materials contain recycled materials. DuPont Corion is used in settings requiring rugged, seamless areas such as counter tops, bathrooms, and other hard-surface areas. "We were interested in 50-year finishes that won't wear through. Hospitals take a lot of wear and tear," notes Coryell.

PPG Solarban Low-E glass helps block direct solar heat and reduce air-conditioning needs, and a Sarnafil thermoplastic roof membrane with reflective properties tops the building.

A building automation system by Siemens Building Systems keeps a close eye on energy use. "Everything is well connected - pumps, drives, motors, boilers, chillers," says Coryell. A 13,000-square-foot Facilities Services Building was constructed on the campus to serve the new PCC. The central plant is equipped with "intelligent" Carrier chillers and Cleaver Brooks steam boilers that can be monitored from anywhere on campus.

Inside and out, project leaders at St. Joseph made choices designed to have minimal environmental impact and maximum effect on the health and comfort of users. And so it seems fitting that Gosselin's exterior scripting calls out, "Dear neighbor, I pray that you may find light, joy, and consolation."

Julie Eisele (editwritenow@gmail.com) is a freelance writer based in Iowa City, IA.

 

IMAGES:

 

 
The new facility's lobby serves as the main entryway for the St. Joseph campus. Soft interior furnishings and natural lighting provide a welcoming, non-institutional atmosphere.
©TIM GRIFFITH, COURTESY OF NBBJ

 
Amenities in patient rooms include desks, day beds for family members, and Wi-Fi connections for patient and visitor use.
TONY KAWASHIMA


Public spaces at St. Joseph promote a warm and relaxing environment.
©TIM GRIFFITH, COURTESY OF NBBJ
 


Nursing stations make heavy use of task lights, while lighting in public areas is controlled automatically to save energy when not in use. Natural and sustainable flooring products are featured in the hospital.
RMA ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHERS


The new Patient Care Center at St. Joseph Hospital stands as a model for future projects to be built on the 75-year-old campus.
©TIM GRIFFITH, COURTESY OF NBBJ

 

 

Above: Natural interior products and furnishings create a comforting climate for patients. Electronic record keeping allows doctors and nurses to minimize paperwork.
©TIM GRIFFITH, COURTESY OF NBBJ

Left: The word "Excellence" appears on the exterior of the Patient Care Center in letters that are about 5 feet in height. The etched glass façade was created using a process in which ceramic frit is applied to glass to create images and lettering.
©TIM GRIFFITH, COURTESY OF NBBJ


Heavy use of glass in key areas provides comforting natural daylight within the Patient Care Center. Low-emissivity glass helps reduce energy consumption. RMA ARCHITECTURAL PHOTOGRAPHERS

 


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

 


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

 


 
comments powered by Disqus

Related Products

Sponsored Links