The Patient Room of the Future

CO Architects Designs Palomar Medical Center West and ‘Acuity-Adaptable’ Rooms

Escondido, CA—The latest in patient room design is being built into the Palomar Medical Center West, a 760,000-square-foot hospital under construction in San Diego County, slated for a late 2011 finish date.
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Hospital administrators have long known that every time a patient is moved, staff care and continuity is interrupted, and positive patient outcomes are reduced.  Traditionally, patients have been moved three to four times per hospital stay, depending on acuity.

CO Architects responded by designing state-of-the-art “acuity-adaptable” patient rooms for Palomar Medical Center West.  Patients can stay in one room from intensive care to discharge, as connections for essential equipment are in every patient room.  “New patient rooms are designed with improved and expanded infrastructure and technology, and are also designed to help keep nurses closer to patients,” said Stephen Yundt, AIA, ACHA, planning principal of CO Architects.

The precedent-setting new Palomar Medical Center West patient rooms also feature “same-handed design,” meaning each room has nearly identical layout and infrastructure, resulting in more clarity for nurses.  The patient rooms are connected to nature by views, landscaped balconies, and natural light, reflecting studies that show patients heal more quickly with access to natural settings.  Additionally, patients have control over artificial lighting, temperature, and relative privacy in their rooms.

To bolster nurse effectiveness in patient rooms, Palomar Medical Center West will institute “distributed nursing and storage.”  This allows nurses to utilize multiple, convenient decentralized storage facilities closer to patient rooms, rather than more-remote centralized nurse stations and storage facilities. 
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“The new paradigm for patient rooms is a tremendous opportunity to improve healthcare,” said Yundt.  “It will call for adjustments from regulatory agencies, administrators, insurers, and nursing schools, but the benefits are huge for the patients.”

The Los Angeles-based CO Architects has already earned kudos for the award-winning Palomar Medical Center West’s pathbreaking green design, and use of light and scenery to ease patient stays and improve outcomes.  The facility won a 2007 AIA-Los Angeles Next LA Award, and a 2007 Design Award from Modern Healthcare, which referred to the project as a “shining city on a hill.”    

CO Architects is a nationally recognized architecture firm, specializing in healthcare, academic, science and technology architectural planning, programming, and design.  The firm’s experience ranges from existing facility evaluations to new, comprehensive medical campuses and includes new medical centers, outpatient facilities, specialty clinics, medical office buildings, and expansion and renovations of healthcare facilities.  CO Architects’ work on academic medical campuses includes new schools of medicine and allied health.

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Posted April 26, 2010

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