Customization in Healthcare Design
Delivering Compassionate Care across the Healthcare Continuum
Founded in 1971, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston is one of the largest rehabilitation facilities in the United States, and is ranked the 5th top rehabilitation hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report. As the official teaching hospital of the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), Spaulding is at the forefront of research in advances in rehabilitative care. Spaulding has helped thousands of patients and families recover from complex conditions and serious illnesses such as stroke, severe burns, limb-loss, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury.
Spaulding recently opened a new 262,000 square foot, 132 bed patient-centered hospital to the public. The facility has already been recognized for its LEED™ Gold certification status, reflecting its commitment to green design principles and is a national model for environmental and inclusive design.
The new facility, which opened in April 2013 on the historic waterfront in Charlestown, Massachusetts, was the only U.S. hospital to win a 2014 Award of Excellence for hospital design by Modern Healthcare. The hospital has received praise for its new, leading edge $225-million facility that was first tested when it accepted 32 victims from the Boston Marathon bombing.
New Hospital is Rehab Rethought
The state-of-the-art hospital replaces a worn, 10-story facility which was fashioned out of infrastructure that is now largely obsolete. Bathrooms in patient rooms were not large enough for a person in a wheelchair, forcing patients to either wait for help or wheel down the hall to the few accessible bathrooms on each floor.
Compare that with the new facility: U-shaped cutouts at reception desks and nurses stations allow wheelchair users to pull straight up and face the person behind the desk at eye level, instead of having to sit sideways. Sink basins are tilted to minimize splashing on wheelchair users. There are few shiny metal surfaces, to reduce glare for those who depend on lip reading.
“The original 42-year-old facility was essentially designed as a nursing home and presented significant constraints,” notes David Burson, senior project manager of Partners HealthCare, the integrated health care system of which Spaulding Rehab is a member hospital. “This new facility takes rehabilitation out of the basement and to a whole new level.”
The ultra modern hospital is based on regenerative, inclusive, and evidenced-based design concepts. “The vision for the hospital was to create a space for patients that promotes healing and addresses the needs of the widest possible audience,” says Jeffrey Keilman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, architect and design director at Perkins+Will, the global architectural and design firm leading the project. “What resulted is a building design that is transparent and carefully researched."
The Spaulding design team wanted easily accessible, sculptural desks in the common areas. They determined DuPont™ Corian® solid surface was the right material because it gave their design the right aesthetic and superior performance qualities.
Corian® gave architects and fabricators the opportunity to sculpt the desk using rounded forms that achieved a clean look with a softer feel. Functionality was also important – Corian® is extremely durable and easy to clean. Custom light soffits were hung above check in and out counters in Corian® Arctic Ice.
In addition, the team wanted to keep their design simple and continuous throughout the facility so they used Corian® Glacier White as a replacement for traditional oak handrails in hallways. Since healthcare design is all about the prevention of infection, nonporous Corian® solid surface was the ideal choice for these high traffic / high touch areas – not only easy to clean but easy to maintain.
Common area sinks were developed to be wheelchair accessible – the sink form was custom designed and built in Corian® Glacier White so that forearms could rest in the sink while hands were being washed. This style sink is available in both single form and multiple trough style use in stall restrooms.
Continuing to use custom forms, square shaped ADA compliant sinks in Corian® Glacier White were installed in all exam rooms as well as model 810 sinks and counters in all patient rooms on floors 4-7.
The Beauty of DuPont™ Corian® in Healthcare
As the design team discovered, easy to clean interiors don’t have to be cold or sterile. By using DuPont™ Corian® solid surface, they created warm, inviting environments throughout the facility that meets the tough demands of healthcare.
Numerous healthcare facilities across the globe have also discovered the many other great applications for Corian®, which include:
- Wall cladding, cabinets, vertical components
- Windowsills and wainscoting
- Cafeteria counters and tables
- Pharmacy counters and staining benches for histology labs
- Patient and public restroom vanities
- Patient bath and shower surrounds
- Patient room tables, sinks and work surfaces
- Operating room walls, sinks and surfaces
For Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, the design and production process, which included millwork by Millwork One of Cranston, RI, and installation by Archer, has resulted in a state-of-the-art healthcare resource for patients, families, and the community at large.
“For far too long, rehabilitative care was an afterthought,” according to David Storto, president of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. “This hospital makes a bold statement that a new era of rehabilitative medicine is bringing together scientific innovation and patient-centered design that puts this institution on par with the major centers of healing in the world.”