Project category: New construction & Remodel/Renovation (completed June 2006)

Chief administrator: Jerry Peters, Director, Facilities Planning & Construction, (302) 744-7027

Firm: EwingCole, (215) 625-4104

Design team: Howard Skoke, AIA, Principal; Glenna Dugan, AIA, LEED AP, Project Manager; Fletcher MacNeill, AIA, LEED AP, Healthcare Planner; Stephanie Brady, LEED AP, Interior Designer

Photography: Jeffrey Totaro

Total building area (sq. ft.): 26,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $258

Total construction cost (excluding land): $6,700,000

Welcoming families into the healing process reduces patient anxiety and stress, leading to faster recovery. Bayhealth Medical Center embraces this idea in the new 26,000-sq.-ft. medical/surgical bed unit on the fourth floor of the 1986 building. The Planetree concepts employed allow the design to seamlessly integrate the relationships between patients, their families, nurses, and doctors, creating a more effective healing environment.

Because natural light is at a premium, the design draws daylight from the exterior wall deep into the interior areas of the floor. The design features a curving, backlit glass wall that meanders through the main public spaces. Translucent glass panels in the kitchen and staff lounge complement the wall, with indirect lighting bringing a glow to interior spaces. Natural color palettes and a water feature bring the tranquility of nature indoors.

Similar to the hotel residence experience, the fourth floor was designed with kitchen, laundry, and shower facilities for families. The 28 single-occupancy patient rooms are spaciously designed to accommodate family members who wish to stay overnight. The patient rooms feature personal controls at the bedside, including room lighting and temperature. Patients can even control whether the window to the hall is clear or translucent. The flexible room designs are sized for many levels of care, easily transitioning from medical/surgical to an intensive care unit.

The nurse work areas overcome the perceived barrier between staff and patients through low desks, open and informal meeting areas, and noninstitutional lighting.