A Comforting Treatment

Jan. 1, 2005
Robert Nieminen

The design of the Tower Hematology Oncology Group at Cedars Sinai Medical Towers in Beverly Hills called for a plan that put patient care and comfort first. The Neiman Group delivered—beautifully.

A Comforting Treatment The design of the Tower Hematology Oncology office required a patient-centered approach. The Neiman Group delivered--beautifully.
By Robert NieminenThere are probably few things in life that induce more stress and apprehension than undergoing cancer diagnosis and treatment. To say that the experience is less than pleasant for patients is a major understatement. That's why patient care and comfort were given the foremost consideration in the design of the Tower Hematology Oncology office in Beverly Hills, CA.In step with their reputation for being responsive to clients and considerate of the end users of the facilities they design, The Neiman Group project team ensured that design and programming issues centered around patient and staff needs, making the space easy to navigate and as stress-free as possible. As you enter the full-floor office, the reception area feels more like a hotel than a medical office, according to principal architect Cliff Neiman. "The entry is more like a concierge desk than a traditional check-in," he says.Clean, organic lines, earth tones and a freestanding water fountain in the main lobby invite patients to relax and calm their nerves before being called in for treatment. The reception desk is adorned with solid green slabs of granite, which gives a soft, clean edge to the 100 percent-maple desk arrangement. Frosted glass artwork divides the reception and lobby areas, further contributing to a sense of tranquility for patients in the waiting area. Scaled-down lighting, textured walls and spiral patterns in the Berber carpet add more soothing finishes to the design.In addition to patient comfort, Neiman says that patient flow was also extremely important to the client, given that there are a number of separate entities involved with chemo treatment, such as examination, infusion, imaging and lab functions."Patients know the process and where they're supposed to go when they come in," Neiman explains. "One of the goals of this project was to create a unified experience that required each unit to be clear, pleasant and direct, mitigating any kind of apprehension." One solution to this challenge was using tile and a hard surface "spine" to connect all the various units within the space, allowing for easy way finding. Choice of flooring also played a key role in the imaging area, where incorporating specialized medical equipment can often present an obstacle to design. The project team chose rich maple flooring to create consistency with the cabinetry and to set the imaging equipment apart from the rest of the room.The 28-chair infusion center, where patients might spend up to six hours attached to an IV, also keeps comfort in mind. Plush furniture and personal entertainment in each individual infusion station help ease patients during treatment. Cantilevered ceiling elements were applied from waiting areas to carry over design elements throughout the space. Direct and indirect lighting sources were used strategically in the examination area where physicians need direct light for care, but are not uncomfortable for the patient on the exam table looking up, Neiman says.Staff needs were also given careful consideration in the design of the 17,000-square-foot office, which was converted from a conventional office space. Simple lines of the nurses' desk station give the nursing staff exceptional visibility and central accessibility to patients. Although space was limited by structural constraints in the doctors' conference room, the project team was able to customize a 12-person seating arrangement and table that maximized the use of the free space in the room. Two six-foot chandeliers encased in halogen bulbs provide direct light, while warm, ambient light emanates from a domed recess in the ceiling. Mechanically drawn shades and a light board add functionality to the space.In the end, The Neiman Group was able to balance the needs of all stakeholders in the project, while successfully making the patient experience as pleasurable as possible. "We feel design projects are a team effort, especially in the medical field where you have a multitude of requirements to consider" Neiman says. "We're equally left- and right-brained, which is great for medical projects like this one."SourcesMILLWORK ATA Custom Cabinet/ Sal YehudaFURNITURE CONSULTANTYOCUM Business Furnishings/ Jeff GendelmanINTERIORCONSTRUCTION METAL AND FURNISHINGSACOUSTICAL CEILING PANELSArmstrong World Industries, Inc.USG InteriorsLIGHTINGLouis PoulsenPrima LightingLithonlierPortfolioWALLCOVERINGWolf Gordon Inc.CARPETAtlas Carpet Mills, IncMannington CommercialSHEET VINYLArmstrong World Industries, Inc.Toli InternationalTILELobby: Iris Ceramica S.P.C.OTHERSDaltile
Armstrong World Industries, Inc.PAINT
LOBBYMeoded Paints and DecorationOTHERSICI DuluxGRANITE COUNTER TOPSouthland Stone USASOLID SURFACING MATERIALSamsung-StaronLAMINATENevamar Armored ProtectionWilsonart InternationalART GLASSThe Rudy Art Glass StudioCUBICLE CURTAINSMaharamUPHOLSTERY FABRICSMomentum Group
Aracdia Sit on it Office seatingPeter Pepper Products, Inc.Project TeamCLIENTTower Hematology Oncology Medical GroupCedars Sinai Medical Towers9090 Wilshire Boulevard, 2nd FloorBeverly Hills, CA 90211(310) 888-8680ARCHITECTURE/INTERIOR DESIGNThe Neiman Group12111 Ohio AvenueLos Angeles, CA 90025(310) 207-8224OWNER, MANAGING PRINCIPALPamela B. NeimanOWNER, REPRESENTATIVE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTORSteven ElconinPRINCIPAL ARCHITECTClifford J. NeimanPROJECT MANAGERMeng-Hao HoPROJECT DESIGNERJessica LiuENGINEERING CONSULTANTSMECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL ENGINEERGuthrie Ishii ENGINEERINGClifford IshiiSTRUCTURAL ENGINEERMyers Houghton and Associates, Rick BeallIMAGINING CONSULTANTAGI Healthcare Group, Ross Laney

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