Hardin Memorial Hospital (HMH) is a county-owned facility in Elizabethtown, Ky. Its oldest section was built in 1954, with numerous additions and renovations. Of its 300 inpatient beds, fewer than 50 percent were private rooms, and its most recent “new” patient rooms were constructed 30 years ago. Thus, HMH wanted to improve its inpatient care by increasing the number of private rooms as well as providing modern, patient-centered accommodations.

To implement this project, HMH retained the design services of JRA Architects and BCCLT Consulting Engineers, both in Louisville, Ky., and Whittenberg Construction, also of Louisville, which provided the CM services.

Following an analysis of where best to locate new inpatient rooms on the sprawling campus, it was determined to add two floors atop the Outpatient Services Endoscopy Center (OSEC). Built in 2005, OSEC was originally structured for future floor construction. However, these future floors were not designated for a specific function at that time. For inpatient use, additional public and staff elevators had to be included. A courtyard was placed in the center of these two new floors to allow windows for the interior inpatient rooms.

The layout of the inpatient rooms were extensively studied by the staff. Using a variety of evidence-based design (EBD) methodologies, JRA led the staff through a decision process that sought to provide the best inpatient rooms that would achieve HMH’s long-term goals. Numerous design sessions were held and 3-D BIM graphics were used to convey realistic images of how the final layout would appear. Then, a full-scale mock-up room was built in a storage area, which was toured by all staff who would work within this new wing, from environmental services and nursing to food service and infection control. Known as “visualizing expectations,” this EBD process greatly benefitted the staff in achieving a “no surprises” outcome.

The final inpatient room layout consisted of placing the toilet rooms along the footwall, allowing a full window view to the exterior. It also permitted a full corridor view for the staff into the room. Satellite observation staff stations were placed outside the inpatient rooms. This layout minimizes footsteps and aims to maximize patient care.

Natural light was a major design consideration, with numerous windows included, which also provide the inpatients with a panoramic view of the surrounding rural countryside.

A total of 56 new private beds were added, bringing the total private bed amount to over 80 percent for HMH. The construction began in late 2013 and was completed in March 2015 at a cost of $19 million.

Steve Wiser, AIA, is director of healthcare design for JRA Architects, Lexington and Louisville, Ky.