Edward Hospital & Health Services of Naperville, Illinois, needed to expand and improve Emergency Services for its ever-increasing patient population. A Pebble Partner interested in improvements to healthcare through evidence-based design, Edward began the design process by analyzing a pod concept for nursing and exam rooms in lieu of a more traditional layout. Also important to the environmental redesign was to create a less stressful setting for patients, families, and staff. Additionally, creation of positive distractions for those waiting and reduction of noise were primary goals of the project.

A new addition on three floors of 24,500 square feet and renovation of the existing departments of 21,500 square feet provided a first floor that includes 30 exam/treatment spaces, 10 pediatric exam/treatment areas, MRI and 3 radiology rooms, 9 triage/holding rooms, waiting and reception areas, registration, and all necessary support facilities. The renovated Emergency Department is situated immediately adjacent to the Occupational Health Department.

The lower level contains staff- support facilities including offices, education rooms, and access to/views of an outdoor terrace to give staff respite from the hectic workday. The second floor houses an expansion of surgical services, including three operating rooms, staff and physician lounges, and education facilities, adjacent to the existing Surgery Suite.

Natural daylight is introduced into the corridors and into the work and exam/treatment areas to provide a more relaxed and calming environment for both patients and staff. Pod workstations, which are surrounded by exam/treatment rooms and support facilities, are used to reduce the overall perceived size of the entire department and, consequently, to reduce the overall noise transmission on the unit. Patients have actually commented that the reduced noise level and privacy of each exam/treatment room make the unit seem much less busy than it is. The organization of the pods also allows for expansion and contraction of the staffed rooms based on need and volume.

The design of each pod utilizes a centrally located staff workstation surrounded by easily accessible exam/treatment rooms and decentralized support facilities. Colors and interior materials were selected for their calming effects. The pediatric pod is consistent in layout with the other pods but starts in a separate waiting area with a nautical theme, which is continued into the exam/treatment area with waves of wall protection, textured/tinted aquatic glass on treatment-room doors, and sheet-vinyl flooring with images of turtles and crabs. The main waiting area contains an interior water feature to help mask noise and provide visual interest.

Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed November 2004)

Chief administrator: Pamela Davis Meyer, Chief Executive Officer, (630) 527-3000

Firm: Matthei & Colin Associates, (312) 939-4002

Design team: Ronald G. Kobold, Partner-in-Charge (Matthei & Colin Associates); Brad Benhart, Project Manager (Pepper Construction Company); John Meyer, Jr., Project Manager (Robert G. Burkhardt & Associates); Ron Hason, Project Manager (Abatangelo-Hason, Ltd.)

Photography: Nathan Kirkman Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 49,250

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $223

Total construction cost (excluding land): $11,000,000

Built for 72,000 annual visits, the new emergency facilities are providing services to a rapidly growing population in a setting that makes patients and staff feel as though the number served is much smaller.