FIRST LOOK: Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital
Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Neb., provides specialized rehabilitation programs for traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, and pulmonary, burn, and other disabling conditions for children and adults. Today, the hospital is planning a new 110-bed facility in Omaha, Neb., that will reflect the mission and culture of Madonna with an emphasis on holistic rehabilitation, addressing the body, mind, and soul, and involving families as well as patients in the healing process.
In particular, Madonna leaders requested that the design not be overtly institutional, resulting in the new facility being organized through a village-like collection of architectural forms. This strategy breaks down the scale of the large building and makes it friendlier and more accessible. The intent is to create an environment that’s similar to a school or other community facility that residents might visit in life, rather than a large institution.
The new building is located on a long sloping site adjacent to a shopping center, a hotel, and a commercial zone in a rapidly developing neighborhood along a major highway on Omaha’s west side. Proximity to these facilities is advantageous, since many patients don’t live locally.
Sited to take advantage of the slope, the two-story building has multiple entrances, each associated with a parking lot, making it convenient for patients, visitors, and staff to reach departments directly without traversing the hospital. The main entrance and lobby are located on the east side of the plan, facing the highway.
The lobby has the scale of a public room and contributes to the intimate scale that Madonna set out to achieve. Throughout the public interiors, warm wood tones and spring-like colors create a friendly, healing atmosphere.
Consistent with the village-like massing of the complex, a chapel occupies a distinctive pavilion at the east end of the building. The rehabilitation gym is a large, linear, double-height form at the center of the plan and is surrounded by a variety of specialized rehabilitation facilities and a therapy pool. At the north end of the building, a complex of educational, training, and research facilities support Madonna’s rehabilitation programs and caregiver training.
The patient room wings are organized in clusters—typically of 16 beds—for the LTAC, skilled nursing, brain and stroke, spine and neurological, and pediatric departments. The wings occupy the west side of the site facing wooded wetlands, which allows the courtyards between the wings and the centrally located dayrooms to have views of the natural landscape. The patient rooms are all wheelchair-accessible, accommodate family members, and feature abundant storage to accommodate the long stays of many of Madonna’s patients.
Designated rooms are sized for bariatric patients, and many feature separate alcoves for family members to spend the night.
As in the public areas, the wood tones of the patient rooms’ built-in furniture and the floors and color accents in the furnishings create a warm, comforting environment. The proposed nature-themed artwork underlines Madonna’s emphasis on concepts like “life” and “rebirth” in its caregiving philosophy.