High performance facility combines modern technology and natural elements to create sustainable healing 'garden hospital'
A re-conceptualisation of traditional hospital typology, Palomar Medical Center West creates an environment designed for healing that considers the impact buildings have on human health and the environment. This is a high performance hospital where nature coexists with and is enhanced by technology.
The facility’s vertical garden concept uses the natural world as a counterpoint to the technological world of medical science. A 1.5 acre undulating green roof and public terrace above the surgery floor and double height tree-planted conservatories on each floor of the adjacent patient tower integrate nature into the entire building. This gives patients, visitors, and staff contact with fresh air and nature from virtually anywhere in the building.
Site planning, landscaping, non-institutional architectural expression, materials selection, and color palette were driven by the garden hospital concept; each aspect informing the other to create a unified holistic and innovative campus for healing.
The project’s sustainable, healing environments, in which the building supports the work of healthcare providers and improves medical outcomes, are infused with nature, planned to create operational efficiencies, and accommodate changes in clinical technology and diagnostic / treatment procedures that the facility will see over its more than fifty year lifespan.
Significant attention was placed on the design of the patient rooms, an important, repetitive space that is the primary point of contact between patient and caregiver. The patient room design incorporates all currently known best practices informed by evidence-based design:
- Acuity Adaptable Patient Rooms: Rooms are designed to accommodate any level of patient acuity - including intensive care - offering the opportunity to assign a patient to a single room for the length of his or her stay. This preserves continuity of the care team and reduces medical errors and operational costs associated with continually relocating patients. The nursing units’ design can adapt to changing bed requirements over time and can be operated as an acuity adaptable unit, a traditional critical care unit, or a traditional acute care unit.
- Single-Handed Patient Rooms: All patient rooms are organised using identical orientation, decreasing the possibility of medical errors, especially in crisis situations.
- Distributed Work Stations and Supply Storage: The tools and supplies nurses require for patient care are located just outside each patient room, maximising the time caregivers spend with patients and improving patient observation.
- Patient’s Control of Room Environment: From the bed, patients are able to adjust room lighting, temperature and window shades; they can access entertainment, educational programs, and medical records; order food; and have a teleconference with a physician who calls in from a remote location.