Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) is a teaching and research hospital based in Portland, Oregon. OHSU wanted to remodel several of its inpatient units to improve internal processes and implement distinctive design changes. The initial completion of two of these floors represents a significant improvement in both staff satisfaction and patient care for OHSU.

In collaboration with the architect, internal processes were improved by reorganizing the nurses’ station, decentralizing patient charting, and facilitating communication through new technology. The nurses’ station was designed to be more appealing to staff and patients, by using wood finishes and artwork, limiting the sounds emanating from the nurses’ station, and streamlining the work area. Bedside care is improved by relocating patient charting immediately outside patient rooms. And staff communication is greatly improved by installation of the new Hill-Rom Nurse Responder system.

OHSU greatly improved its patient care environment by going from shared to individual patient rooms, using interior finishes more common to residential settings, and increasing patients’ control of their physical environments. Each room has patient-accessible controls for temperature and lighting. The bathrooms were placed to maximize the window area, and at least half of the rooms have a view of Mount Hood and the Cascade Mountain Range.

Products such as GenuWood® flooring in the patient rooms provide a durable and cleanable floor surface, and faux marble porcelain tiles enhance the aesthetics of the patient bathrooms. To make the environment more comfortable for family and visitors, all medical devices are located behind doors. Tubing for medical gases and suction exit the headwall at the bottom, thereby hiding unsightly suction canisters.

The result of this design is a new patient-friendly environment that is more reminiscent of a hospitality suite than the usual “sterile” setting. This environment contributes to improved health outcomes and greater operating efficiency.

Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed November 2001)

Chief administrator: Patricia Southard, RN, JD, Senior Associate Hospital Director, (503) 494-3709

Firm: Petersen Kolberg & Associates, (503) 968-6800

Design team: Jim Knees, Associate (Petersen Kolberg & Associates); Georgia Erdenberger, Principal (Czopek and Erdenberger); Janet Brosh, Associate (James Graham & Associates); Tommi Rutherford, Structural Design Engineer (KPFF Consulting Engineers); Mike Scupien, Project Manager (PAE Consulting Engineers)

Photography: Ed Hershberger, Ed Hershberger Photography

Total building area (GSF): 30,560

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $256

Total cost (excluding land): $10,300,000