Being the largest private nonprofit provider of mental health services to its county, the Sheppard Pratt Health System recently built a newer facility set in the Maryland woodlands. While being within easy access of many of the surrounding communities, the campus remains nestled within a thickly forested area, which helped provide inspiration for many of the hospital’s landscaped spaces.
Interior courtyards and exterior pathways provide ample opportunities for natural connections with the nearby hills, hollows, creeks and wetlands. Here, nature itself acts as a barrier, providing ample privacy for patients while still allowing the hospital to safely monitor them in these verdant areas.
This verdant environment also lends itself to serene views from inpatient bedrooms. All on-unit therapy and activity spaces look directly into the woodland surroundings, as well.
Adaptive Design Keeps Safety Measures from Becoming Overbearing
In addition to providing services to adults, Sheppard Pratt’s new facility includes a separate adolescent unit for patients ages 12 through 17 who require crisis stabilization in an inpatient environment. Several multifunctional day treatment program areas are available for outpatient needs, as well.
Inside, all areas of the hospital flow seamlessly into one another with easy wayfinding and lack of harsh security measures thanks to adaptable design considerations based on the level of safety needed in each space. For example, inpatient and crisis care environments have more stringent design considerations such as anti-ligature solutions and unmovable furniture.
Similar furniture, finishes, and other interior design touches are carried into outpatient and visitor spaces, though those features may be more flexible and movable. This provides a seamless environment and experience throughout the facility regardless of acuity and does not stigmatize any specific patient population. Additionally, each patient unit has a designated color, icon, and name to create a smaller community within.
Fostering community, as a whole, was an overarching goal of the project. Because Sheppard Pratt was designed as a large and sprawling facility to accommodate inpatient and outpatient services, the interiors break down its size by turning each of the five patient units into an identifiable neighborhood. Each unit has a designated color, icon, and name inspired by areas of Maryland to create a sense of community within and bolster a sense of belonging for patients.
This focus is even exemplified with the entryway. Wood batons on the lobby wall conjure the image of a community of trees providing support, symbolizing the community support offered to patients.
Another version of this article originally appeared on our sister site Healthcare Design.