New Jersey Health Facility Designed Using Patient-Centered Care Model

Dec. 23, 2008

A health facility that embraces Planetree concepts and enhances urban revitalization opened in Camden, NJ on December 11 according to architect John Capelli, AIA, principal at Philadelphia-based EwingCole.

"When Cooper University Hospital embarked on its first major building project in 29 years, few could have imagined its transformational effect," says Capelli, "Called the ‘Pavilion', the facility is the centerpiece of Cooper's Urban Initiative."

Towering bamboo, natural materials, natural and indirect lighting create a new first impression for visitors to the hospital. For patients, Cooper believes, the design innovations will also aid in recovery. The Pavilion will expand the Cooper University Hospital campus with 90 new private beds, an expanded emergency room, 12 new operating rooms, new Intensive Care Unit, clinical labs, and visitor amenities as well as room for future expansion. The total area of new construction is 297,650 square feet and the total area of renovated space is 79,350 square feet.

According to Capelli, the new Pavilion will serve the interests of patients, staff and community. "Our goals in design were three-fold: urban integration, patient/staff health and safety, and market recognition."

The contemporary design of the 10-story Pavilion positions Cooper University Hospital as a welcoming gateway to the City. Using glass with metal panel accents to convey openness, the design of the Pavilion carries over onto the facades of the adjacent Keleman and Dorrance Buildings. As part of Cooper's commitment to Camden, neighbors will enjoy a new green public space adjacent to the Pavilion. With the removal of the Reibel Garage, the corner of MLK Blvd and Haddon Avenue will be home to a pocket park that will offer a quiet and natural setting for patients, family, staff, and neighbors. Additionally, the project will create a rejuvenated green ring around the institution with new lawns, plantings and street furniture.

"The Pavilion represents today's most forward thinking concepts in healthcare design," says Andrew Jarvis, AIA, EwingCole's healthcare practice leader. "We used a Planetree or ‘patient-centered' care model, built around what is best for the patient and staff. The building supports all components of Planetree but in particular creates a welcoming and accessible series of spaces that engage the senses and break down barriers." EwingCole regularly utilizes Evidence-Based design in support of making welcome spaces friendly and warm - a critical element in a healing environment.

Blending contemporary design with function, the architects intend for the Pavilion's atrium to become the town square of the Cooper campus, bringing together visitors and staff by linking all of the University buildings in an active, central location while creating a sense of orientation critical to the patient's family.

"EwingCole worked closely with Cooper's leadership to design a hospitality-like healing environment," says Saul Jabbawy, design principal. When first arriving at the Pavilion, one enters the two-story, healing garden of the main lobby. The atrium is saturated with natural materials, textures and sounds. Providing relief from the city with peace and calmness, the atrium features a public café, gathering space for community events, and retail store for patients and visitors as well as an extensive display portraying Cooper's role in Healthcare and Camden's past, present and future. A Reference Center provides healthcare information, and a nondenominational Meditation Room with counseling services is available.

"The sense of walking through a healing garden follows the patient through his or her entire experience," explained Jabbawy, "Continuing to the elevator lobby areas, patient waiting areas, nursing stations, bed floor corridors and patient bed floors. This continuity provides a cohesive image for the institution and a sense of peace and regularity for the patient."

The patient room was developed with Cooper through full scale mockup studies and computer visualization tests. According to Capelli, "the new patient rooms are private which, experience has shown, is a benefit to the patient and families."

Features within patient rooms that support a healing environment include access to daylight and window views of the Delaware River, use of natural materials, family areas for overnight stays, and healthcare-specific carpeting and sound absorption materials within the corridor to reduce noise. Medical needs such as hand washing sinks, receptacles and medical headwalls have been custom-designed to avoid the feel of a typical hospital.

"What was particularly exciting about the project was how everyone at Cooper, from the medical staff and administration to the Board pushed for this innovative environment," said Jabbawy.

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