The Stamford, CT office of top international design and architecture firm Perkins Eastman joins the physicians, staff, parents, and family members of children who have been patients at Danbury Hospital to celebrate the completion of a new 18,000 sq ft Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Built according to the Planetree model of patient care, the facility offers the first state-of-the-art unit in Connecticut (and third in New England) with all private, single-patient rooms. The new facility supports one of the highest levels of NICU care in the state at Level 111b.
“The new NICU creates a positive healing environment that supports a family’s involvement in the care of their newborn child, while enhancing physicians’ ability to deliver the highest level of care,” said Lynne Rizk, an Associate Principal at Perkins Eastman and senior medical planner on the project. “Providing clear planning concepts with views to staff, access to their child, and overnight accommodations were our principles.”
Each individual NICU room has a dedicated ‘family room’ equipped with a bed and a desk to allow family members to stay overnight and remain close to their infant. There is a dedicated family respite area for when individuals want to meet with other parents or for meditation or reflection. Plans are currently underway for a new healing roof garden. The design also focuses on a decentralised nursing approach to provide a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio for care, with direct views of and access to monitoring capabilities for each patient from nursing stations.
Perkins Eastman designed the space to reflect textures, colours, and concepts found in nature (earth, fire, water, and air) throughout a series of experiences that are intended to put parents at ease. These experiences start with informal and formal waiting rooms, parent locker areas, and a ‘NICU Graduates Wall;’ and lead to quiet respite spaces and a special scrub area to help create calm as parents enter the NICU patient area. Connor Glass, the lead designer for the new NICU remarked: “It was important to design a space that would help prepare parents and caregivers to enter an intensive care environment, and not a typical unit.”