Bon Secours St. Francis, Eastside Neonatal Care Unit (NCU)

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Awarded: Institute for Patient Centered Design Patient and Family Centered NICU Design Award, 2013

The Mack Pazdan Neonatal Care Unit expansion and renovation offers single-family patient rooms designed to foster a sense of comfort, control, and participation between care givers and families. As a Level II NCU, Bon Secours St. Francis’ unit often welcomes babies struggling to overcome a wide range of health challenges. Design features include separate zones for caregivers, infants, and family. Sleeper sofas and kangaroo recliners foster longer family visits. To facilitate breast feeding, lactation supply storage, and mother’s seating are offered. Frosted glazing, curtains, and sound masking support privacy. Color, art, and warm wood tones, replicate nature and create a calming design effect.

A core multidisciplinary team of nurses, physicians, hospital VP’s, architects, and planners visited a number of NICU facilities. Once room sizes were established, a full-scale mockup was built on site for NCU staff, a parent focus group, and the state regulatory agency. Each group was invited to tour and evaluate over a three month period, providing invaluable feedback to the design. The team studied and practiced scenarios in various room configurations, until the room worked as a unified whole.

In addition to its single room design, the new NCU offers a “well baby” nursery that allows babies to be moved temporarily into a separate nursery whenever their mothers require isolation to receive specialized medical treatments. The 6,000 SF facility completed in 2013.