Photo: Large Overall Plan
Written by Robert N.Tonks
This was the challenge recently poised to one of our design teams here in Billings. The client was looking for a very specific hospitality experience for hip and knee replacement patients. Recognizing that this surgery is most often performed electively, there is a large opportunity for our client to differentiate themselves and attract a wider market share. The early discussion of the concept revolved around the idea that the only recognizable “hospital element” in a patient room would be the bed. To add to the challenge this project is a renovation of a 1970s patient tower that has a very unique and at times frustrating footprint and structural grid. However the opportunity for design excellence overshadowed the opposition and we eagerly set to work.
The first element that needed attention was the arrival sequence. Hospitality design focuses on individuals being recognized and receiving a warm welcome. This was addressed by utilizing the existing connecting corridor as the focal point for entry. At the end of a long corridor, the reception desk takes it’s location of prominence. All patients and family will be greeted by a smiling face. Just beyond the reception desk is a generous lobby area that extends it’s reach into the physical therapy space. This lobby space will provide a comfortable gathering spot and promote interaction between the staff and the patient’s family and friends.
The heart of this project is the physical therapy space. This is where the patients will being their road to recovery with intensive exercise and training. As a multi-use space with attention to community and sharing the recovery experience with other patients, the design for this space provides for an operable wall to open the room to the corridor. There is also the potential for a new outdoor deck which could provide the incredible healing amenity of access to nature.
In keeping with the hospitality design principles of keeping staff and service spaces hidden from the guest, we have designed a careful arrangement of the support spaces that keep them separated. This separation continues down to the level of the individual nurse stations that are able to be closed up to conceal the staff functions. In an effort to foster a sense of community each wing has a seating nook which is sheltered by a partial height wall that has the nourishment counter opposite.