In February 2014, Memorial Hermann The Woodlands opened the new Joint Center and The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) inpatient medical rehabilitation unit on levels 6 and 7 of the East Tower. The two new floors, comprising 45,593 square feet, include 36 medical-surgical, monitored private patient rooms; nurses’ stations with conference and meeting spaces; medication rooms; nourishment rooms; equipment and supply storage areas; a housekeeping room; a staff lounge; offices; dictation spaces; and staff/family multipurpose spaces. They were designed by WHR Architects.

The Joint Center, on level 6, is designed to serve patients who typically come in for a joint replacement and leave that same afternoon, returning for additional outpatient therapy. The 18-bed inpatient unit features a large, flexible, group physical therapy gym. Patients receive therapy in individual, small-, or large-group arrangements with mobile equipment in a flexible layout. Ballet bars wrap around the room, providing balance for patients receiving treatment. Mirrors on the walls reflect light and allow patients to monitor their progress during treatment. Colorful, cloud-like floating ceiling elements that help create a more intimate scale in the large space also provide lighting and acoustic controls. Nearby open-concept nurses’ stations encourage conversation between staff, patients, and their families.

The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research on level 7 has a similar layout to level 6, but serves a different patient population. Inpatients here are undergoing longer-term rehabilitation to help them regain the skills and confidence they need to reintegrate into the community. The spaces feature different equipment and tools, while still providing a bright, open environment.

The large rehabilitation gym features colorful canopies along the ceiling. These, coupled with large windows, introduce visual interest for patients undergoing intense physical rehabilitation. Adjacent to the space is a training kitchen designed to simulate the home environment, where patients relearn how to function in typical living spaces while staff observe. A similar training bathroom is nearby, retraining patients with sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and showers. 

In the corridors, therapists work with patients using insets on the floor—which serve as visual distance markers for pace testing that allows staff to measure how quickly patients can travel a specific distance safely. Nurses’ stations on this floor feature multipurpose seating areas where patients are encouraged to spend time away from their bedrooms but near their caregivers.

While it’s part of the larger Memorial Hermann Health System, this facility, located in The Woodlands (35 miles north of Houston’s Texas Medical Center), has a distinctive identity that takes it cues from the abundant green spaces of The Woodlands. The extensive use of wood finishes, the colors of nature, and views to the landscape throughout connect the facility to the community it serves.