Sinai Hospital of Baltimore recently commissioned planning, architectural, and engineering services for a Labor/Delivery/Recovery Suite and Postpartum addition and renovation on the hospital campus. As part of this project, the firm conducted focus groups with the community and former patients to find out what women are really looking for in labor/delivery rooms. These groups included expectant mothers, mothers who had delivered, and Orthodox Jewish mothers.

Based on the information that came from the focus groups, a state-of-the-art Birthing Center was developed. It was discovered through the focus-group meetings that labor/delivery rooms are not the prominent concern. Instead, postpartum rooms are considered to be more important. As a result, hospital operations were redesigned to accommodate these needs for patient-focused care. For example, the new Birthing Center incorporates the universal-room concept between antepartum and labor/delivery rooms; that is, two of the five antepartum rooms are identical to the labor/delivery rooms so they can be adapted according to accuity needs. Also, all the labor/delivery rooms and antepartum rooms are “same-handed” rooms. The layout and positioning of medical gases, monitors, power outlets, and controls are identical in all rooms to reduce the possibility of medical error caused by unfamiliarity with the positioning of these elements. The rooms are planned with consistent location of zones for caregiver, patient, and family activity.

The $12 million project includes 7 labor and delivery rooms, 5 extended-stay rooms, 24 postpartum rooms, 2 caesarean section rooms, new elevators, and a new front entrance. Special features include a courtyard, larger-than-usual postpartum rooms with extra-large bathrooms, and extended-stay rooms that combine labor and delivery rooms.

The design team used natural light throughout the facility, which is situated on a difficult, tight site. The facility is capable of future vertical growth. It is also organized for good flow between the neonatal intensive care and postpartum areas.

Project category: New construction (completed February 2005)

Chief administrator: Robert Turner, Vice-President, (410) 601-5787

Firm: HDR - Alexandria, (703) 518-8500

Design team: Rick Abbott, Principal-in-Charge; Tony Cicci, Project Manager; Erin Viviani, Project Architect (HDR - Alexandria); Cristen Linton, Interior Designer (former employee of HDR)

Photography: Ron Solomon Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 55,556

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $177

Total construction cost (excluding land): $9,850,000