Children’s hospital stays are often of longer duration than those of adults, and they more often recur over time. Providing distractions that let them be children and not always child-patients is an important part of providing them appropriate care and are critical to healing. Distraction is also essential to the families who play a large role in their child’s care. It was important that the architecture afford families, even from diverse cultures, some sort of normal life while in the hospital. Family centered care is a significant part of creating a safe haven environment for children.
From an inclusive visioning process where the design team listened to what more than 200 people from the community desired in the expanded pediatric facilities, the story of the Hero’s Journey with a Castle Refuge took shape. Through the work of an imaginative and dedicated design team, it became the central theme for a robust healing experience within a fantasy.
Miller Children’s Hospital now includes a dedicated pediatric surgery suite with seven ORs, a dedicated pediatric imaging center, an additional 24 completed neonatal intensive care beds with 24 more shelled in, and 24 general pediatric private patient rooms shelled in. These spaces, as well as outdoor spaces and interior lobbies, circulation and hospitality areas, are designed to engage the imagination of patients around the central theme. Design elements are targeted at distracting young patients and making a stay at Miller Children’s as positive and non-threatening as possible.