By Laurel Clark
One of the fastest growing trends in healthcare design is the emergence of clinical environments that don’t feel clinical. Healthcare organizations are increasingly relying on the power of the built environment to enhance and elevate the patient journey, and the ground underfoot is well positioned to contribute to this narrative.
Research has shown that patient stress is reduced in environments that feel more familiar, comfortable and easy to navigate. Studies have also documented the positive effects of energizing color, soft shapes, natural light and biophilic imagery to create a welcoming and reassuring environment for patients and their families.
However, there is an additional layer to our human experience that responds when our environments enrich us. Well-designed environments can help patients thrive by nurturing them for their mental and physiological well-being. Ordinary design elements executed in extraordinary ways can positively impact our abilities as humans to learn and remember, respond to stress, navigate our world, and take in our surroundings visually and through movement. To this end, Tecton Architects strives to select materials that are sustainably sourced and evoke a connection to the natural world, while offering easy maintenance, slip resistance, stability and durability.
With each new project, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center demonstrates its commitment to creating patient-centered care environments. “Research continues to validate the important role that experience design plays in creating healing environments,” said Gil Peri, president and COO of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “Connecticut Children’s is reinventing that patient experience and ensuring that we do everything we can to create an amazing experience for the children who walk through our doors.”
Together, Tecton and Connecticut Children’s envision a future where healthcare can become an exciting destination for patients rather than an obligatory stop on the road to better health. Immersive and engaging physical environments offer children and their families a momentary escape from the realities of ongoing treatments. Of course, the challenge of creating these enriched environments is to establish
balancing creativity and practicality, harmonizing play with universal appeal, and synchronizing immersive design with the core mission of providing exceptional care.
THE INFUSION CENTER
The new Connecticut Children’s Infusion Center in Farmington, Connecticut exemplifies this investment in the imagination and the patient journey. Understanding the exhausting hours children can spend dealing with chronic conditions, we envisioned a creative and energizing space that balances patient care and fun. Inspired by the concept of a mystical outdoor adventure, the team divided the treatment areas into three zones – cabin, tent and motorhome – all with different levels of privacy and all centered around a sculpture of interactive tree created by Digital Innovations. While the tree and accompanying virtual software are central to the design vision, the client was adamant that the surrounding architecture served more than a background, both complementing and enhancing the design. visitor experience. In addition to the three separate treatment areas, other key design features include a centralized nurse station surrounding the tree facility as a moss-covered root system and a waterfall in the waiting room , which offers an intriguing glimpse into the main clinical space. With such dramatic and distinct vignettes at work in a relatively small 8,000 square foot space, the design team relied on the flooring as a unifying element to tie the spaces together.
When selecting flooring for a healthcare space, it’s no surprise that cleanability and durability are paramount. Fortunately, there are more and more creative designs and flexible options available in the market beyond the bland and monochromatic function-first standards. Understanding that the client’s top priority was for the space to not feel clinical at all, Tecton saw an opportunity with Mannington’s Color Anchor LVT to create a truly custom layout to complement and connect the key design features of the space. It’s always a special opportunity when clients give instructions to push the boundaries of the design, so Tecton really wanted to test the limits of the materials in order to transform this space into something truly magical.
Wooden walkways served as the primary inspiration for navigating the space, abstracted in plank patterns in the floors and ceilings that subtly indicate circulation routes throughout the space. The neutral wood tones of the main “decks” are accentuated by accents of blue and green in key locations, creating a balance of warm and cool colors akin to the natural world. For example, in the waiting room, visitors are greeted by a graphic wall with a waterfall flowing in rich blue LVT tiles, which blend into earth-toned walkways and grassy forest greens.
Other “water” features in the space, such as restrooms and handwashing stations, are also accented with blue, creating intuitive orientation for visitors. Bridge-inspired pathways also circle the nurses’ station and blend in shades of green to meet the base of the feature tree installation. Installation of the amorphous pattern was greatly simplified for the contractor with a detailed paint-by-number style plan rendering provided by Mannington, who also ensured that accurate quantities were identified for each color plank.
Balancing patient privacy and provider visibility was another key consideration in the design layout. The treatment areas are all arranged in a circle around the central nurses’ station, both to monitor patients at high risk of infection and to give everyone a view of the interactive tree view.
The ‘cabins’, which serve as longer-term treatment rooms, have sliding doors with graphic frosted glass side windows that provide privacy and comfort, but with a subtle view portal allowing nurses to monitor care from the inside. exterior of the cabin. Mannington’s Realities II Vinyl Sheet Flooring in Persian Walnut offers a compelling wood look appropriate for a cabin, but with the high performance of a monolithic floor and integrated cove base. It transitions smoothly into the wood tones of the LVT decks immediately outside the cabin while complementing the vinyl wood wall cladding of the processing bay headwall.
The “tent” treatment bays have been designed to be semi-private, giving patients the flexibility to customize their separation. Functional pocket tent doors between the bays allow patients to connect with their neighbors through a secret passageway. Optional privacy curtains at the entrance add a fabric element reminiscent of traditional tent construction with the added benefit of being easily interchangeable for infection control. Bright orange angled walls introduce a cheerful pop of color and dimension to the space, and the floor also hints at the characteristics of a tent. Here, Tecton embraced the innate materiality of sheet vinyl by selecting Johnsonite’s IQ Optima in Bedrock, a pattern evoking the familiar tarp bottom of a tent.
The “RV” bays were the most open treatment option, designed for patients who wanted to socialize with healthcare providers and each other while interacting with the tree facility. Curved metal walls with reveals echo the paneled look of a classic Airstream trailer. The three treatment bays inside are open to each other and united by the same vinyl sheet used in the tents. Privacy curtains are available to divide the bays as required, but are otherwise concealed in recessed pockets. An interactive LED light strip runs along the back wall of the RV, giving each patient control to customize the color of their space to suit their mood.
The flooring also served as a key design element in the examination rooms. The design team selected whimsical wall graphics and split them in half: the first half was applied to the exam room door and the second was applied to the back wall. A contrasting sheet vinyl strip emphasizes the connection between the door and the wall, and when the angle is just right, the two images merge into one. It’s these kinds of discoveries hidden in space that will keep the experience exciting and engaging for patients, even after repeat visits.
Connecticut Children’s Infusion Center exemplifies the power of flooring as a unifying and distinctive force in design. It has the power to connect and separate space with a level of subtlety that can elude traditional walls and openings. The flooring also offers the possibility of layering details in a way that enriches a design and ensures that each visit offers new discoveries to patients. From abstract walkways with hints of water to exam room graphics that merge into one, flooring and architecture can combine to create a playful space filled with positive distractions that add nuance to an otherwise experience. repetitive.
Copyright 2020 Floor Focus
Related Topics:Fuse, Mannington Mills, Fuse Alliance