The design of an inpatient unit can be much more than “just another stay at the hospital”. In order to transform this norm, the new Seraph-McSparren Pediatric Inpatient Center (Lancaster, Pa.) is focused on the patient and family experience. Traditional core areas, often treated as separate rooms, have been designed as one large space. The greeter, parent lounge, pantry, play area, and teen spaces are commingled in an open interactive flexible space. Floor patterns, color and changes in ceiling heights create visual interest and division of space. Interactive elements have been introduced throughout the unit to provide intuitive wayfinding as well as introduce age appropriate diversions for the patients and their siblings.

Special attention has been given to creating care team work areas that promote collaboration amongst the clinicians in both open and enclosed settings. Offering the choice of both seated and standing work surfaces, the care team areas take into consideration staff health. Liberal use of glass at the care team work areas allow patients and their families to maintain visual contact even when staff are in a private setting.

Every effort was made to make the patient family feel comfortable during their stay on the unit. Family-center comforts and amenities include a stocked pantry with snacks and toiletries, parent showers, and laundry facilities. Additionally, a private respite room is available for family use. The 17 private patient rooms feature generous family space with a sofa that turns into a bed for two as well as other comfortable seating and work surfaces.

Project category: New construction and remodel/renovation

Chief administrator: Mark Matuzak, director of construction, facility support, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health

Firm: Stantec,

Design team: Megan Holmes, principal-in-charge; Tahisha Anderson, project manager; Ana Escobar-Guillen, project coordinator; Deborah Knast, senior interior designer; Chesenia Burgos, interior designer (Stantec Architecture and Engineering LLC); Metcalfe Architecture & Design (interactive elements); Universal Services Associates Inc. (fabricators, interactive elements); Leach Wallace (MEP engineering); Benchmark Construction (general contractor)

Total building area (sq. ft.): 20,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $285

Total construction cost (excluding land): $5.7 million

Completed: September 2019