The second phase in Novant Health’s comprehensive investment into the Forsyth Medical Center, the critical care tower compliments the existing structure in both appearance and function. Adding additional square footage and more efficient floor plans on top of plenty of outdoor touches, the new addition will help consolidate movement throughout the space and further streamline patient care.
Gresham Smith (Charlotte, North Carolina) and McMillan Pazdan Smith (Charlotte) are approaching the design as an integrated team, weaving functionality and aesthetics into intuitive, adaptable areas.
The exterior of the five-story, 193,480-square-foot tower will unite with the existing structure through brick, glass and metal panels. The tower’s first floor will house the surgical suite, with expanded pre- and postoperative space that reduces travel distances between the new operating rooms and support spaces. The second, third, and fourth floors will house a combined 36 medical-surgical beds and 60 critical care beds. A redesigned patient drop-off and pick-up area meanwhile will increase convenience and accessibility.
The standardized patient rooms will be larger than existing rooms to offer additional privacy while also providing flexibility for the future, enabling the rooms to be converted to intensive care or isolation rooms to handle more complex care.
The project is expected to finish in 2024.
Plant-Like Imagery Helps Form Intuitive Wayfinding and a Sense of Peace
Inside, the main lobby opens with floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the waiting area with natural light while the furniture and finishes will take cues from the local community’s gardens and parks. Large-scale wall graphics, as well as the color and texture of the tiles help bring this imagery to life while also providing intuitive wayfinding to guests and staff.
This same attention to natural lighting and imagery also helps to define the team stations. From the centrally located intensive care unit to the post anesthesia clinic, each station is easily identifiable through recessed linear lighting used to highlight the area. For post anesthesia, the desk design borrows elements from the entry lobby, using a cherry finish and waterfall edge on its desk alongside bright, floral wall graphics to define itself.
The critical care tower’s all-private patient rooms also feature large windows that offer daylight and views. Each headwall is accentuated by an accent color and large-scale nature graphic. Wall-mounted monitors enhance bedside care, in-wall dialysis boxes increase patient safety, and dual medical gas units provide flexibility in the event the hospital reaches surge capacity
Privacy and Proximity Keeps Patients Safe and Comfortable
The centralized nurses’ station on each floor will help create operational efficiencies, while the decentralized niches outside patient rooms will enhance patient care and support increased bedside nursing time. These alcoves will allow nursing staff to quietly monitor patients and complete charting activities. These are denoted each by an accent color, such as fresh blues and greens, and also feature built-in casework for personal protective equipment.
The more open intensive care unit utilizes glass panels to maximize patient sightline for staff while also cutting back on noise.
Another version of this article was originally penned by Tracey Walker on our sister site Healthcare Design.