The HEALTHCARE DESIGN conference offers attendees the chance to tour a selected group of healthcare facilities in the area and I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to visit one of the featured tours at HEALTHCARE DESIGN.11Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Tennessee.

The hospital, with Earl Swensson Associates, Inc. as the lead design team, opened its doors in February 2004 and was built at a total cost of approximately $268,000,000. As soon as you enter through the doors it is apprant that the hospital and the design teams made it a priority to make sure children felt a sense of comfort in their time of need. The whimsical staircase has a stop-off area flanked and topped by four pillars with a colored metal  ribbon.The many features at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital include:

  • a covered drop-off and pick-up zone with a life-size sculpture of children at play;
  • check-in area with automated kiosks;
  • family-friendly atmosphere;
  • waiting area with a sunken lounge to the side that has child-sized furniture;
  • enclosed outdoor area/landscaping with water feature for staff, family, and patient to enjoy rest and rejuvenation;
  • badged entry access to most areas of the facility for security considerations;
  • kitchen, quiet lounge, laundry facilities, etc., for family members;
  • patient rooms with couch seating for families and visitors;
  • artwork contributed by children in the community and hospital, as well as generous donations from the community, and commissioned art;
  • brightly lit units and color schemes that relate to nature in Tennessee;
  • a chapel with stained glass windows and entry doors, and woodwork;
  • elevators that help to separate hospital functions;
  • and the Doctors’ Office Tower  that sits on the same footprint as the hospital. 

Nurses' stations are decentralized with portable and static workstations between patient rooms making it easier for hospital staff to document on the o and keep and eye on their patients.

A donor wall was uniquely visualized with brightly colored butterfly shapes that can be rotated by children or adults and have the names of the generous benefactors and the unit or area of the hospital to which they donated.

The hospital is currently working on expansion plans that will add 33 beds and 31,464 square feet to be completed in April 2012. Future developments look to eventually connect the hospital to Vanderbilt Women’s Health Services