The new pediatric patient care unit in the East Tower of Valley Baptist Medical Center was designed to create a comforting healthcare environment for children.

The U-shaped facility houses three nursing units on the fourth floor—one ICU and two acute care. The acute care nursing units have been developed around pods of three to four rooms, bringing the point of service close to the patient. There is a satellite nurses’ station for every three beds, locating a nurse and supplies at the patient's doorstep.

The client wanted to optimize the number of beds while providing patient-focused care—including all private rooms—and incorporating family members in the care of the patient. In pods of three acute care beds, two patient rooms allow space for a sleeping recliner, and one patient room includes a Murphy bed for overnight stays. In the ICU, two bedrooms are provided for overnight stays for parents.

The goal was to provide a healing environment for children that would also be a comforting place away from home. Themes were developed for each of the three nursing units and incorporated throughout the patient floor: The ICU theme is Noah's Ark, the North Unit's theme is a castle, and the South Unit's theme is a train/transportation.

Patient room headwalls reflect the nursing unit theme and have sliding doors that conceal the med-gases. Vanity and wardrobe millwork also continues the colorful themes. At the ICU, Noah's Ark murals are located at the headwall between the med-gas columns, extending the animal characters into the patient environment. Wayfinding graphics were also developed around these themes. Every patient pod has a footprint of symbols that corresponds to a doormat in the flooring.

Integrated throughout the floor are state-of-the-art information and medical technology systems. The entire floor is planned with controlled access and individual security for tracking patients.

Project category: New construction (completed February 2003)

Chief administrator: James Eastham, CEO, (956) 969-1843

Firm: PageSoutherlandPage, (713) 871-8484

Design team: Richard Atmar, Partner-in-Charge; Murray Sisson, Project Manager; Beth Lustig, Project Designer; Jim Ling, Production Assistant (PageSoutherlandPage); Lew Vossberg, Interiors Consultant (Valley Design)

Photography: Mike McCormick

Total building area (GSF): 41,397

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $155.47

Total cost (excluding land): $6,436,101