Project category: New construction (completed June 2011)

Chief administrator: Peter Daniels, President & Chief Executive Officer, (630) 833-1400

Firms: Albert Kahn Associates, Inc., (313) 202-7000; Pratt Design Studio, (773) 755-2000

Design team: Owner’s Representative/Project Manager (Hammes Company); Architect and Interior Designer of Clinical Areas & Structural Engineering (Albert Kahn Associates, Inc.); Architect and Interior Designer of Exterior and Public Areas (Pratt Design Studio); Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Engineering (Korda Engineering); Construction Manager (Gilbane Building Company)

Photography: Scott McDonald © Hedrich Blessing 2011

Total building area (sq. ft.): 866,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $369

Total construction cost (excluding land): $320,000,000

By committing to a model of health care centered on their patients and by becoming an Affiliate of Planetree, Elmhurst created a truly patient-centered culture that complements its new health care campus, creating an atmosphere that cultivates the healing of the mind, body and spirit while educating and empowering patients to become actively involved in their own care.

The ideal patient day begins as visitors arrive at a red brick Prairie-style building adorned with bands of precast concrete molded in the design of a Planetree leaf, a symbol used throughout the hospital. They are welcomed by gardens and outdoor seating areas that span the front of the building.

Once inside, floor to ceiling windows provide ample natural light guiding one through the concourse, which includes a flower shop, wellness boutique, Starbucks, Walgreens pharmacy and the Wildflower Café.

A home-like appeal is provided through a number of features including overnight accommodations for patient family members, libraries, kitchens, and activity rooms. Numerous courtyards, deliberate views to the exterior, outdoor balconies, green roofs and healing gardens allow a constant integration of nature within the facility.

The hospital has 259 private, same-handed patient rooms. A computer work station with an articulating arm in each room allows caregivers to position the monitor where it can also be seen easily by the patient. The importance of family members to the healing process was not overlooked in the patient rooms, which provide extra seating, tables, Wi-Fi internet and comfortable accommodations.

Patent safety is paramount, and patient rooms feature integrated, ceiling-mounted patient lifts for staff and patient safety. Large bathrooms include roll-in showers and toilets positioned away from the corner of each bathroom, providing space for two caregivers to help a patient sit or stand and fold-down grab bars on each side of the toilet to allow patients to help themselves.

In the emergency department, exam rooms are private, each with a private bathroom. Two doors lead into each exam room; the staff work area is on one side of the exam rooms and the family lounge is on the other, to reduce noise and chaos.

A nondenominational chapel with a second-story balcony is adjacent to both the emergency department on the first floor and the intensive care unit on the second floor. Family and friends of patients in these critical care areas can access the chapel without having to travel far from the patient bedside.