DesignGroup Transforms Former Surgical Unit into Accommodating Environment for Critically Ill Children and their Families

November 7, 2018

Children in need of intensive cardiac care and their families will soon have a new home at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.

DesignGroup of Columbus, Ohio, is transforming the fourth floor of Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville into The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU). The CICU will feature 17 private rooms dedicated to children recovering from heart procedures, including open heart surgery, heart transplant and other conditions requiring intensive care.

Norton Healthcare plans to invest $78.3 million to create the CICU and renovate the “Just for Kids” Critical Care Center and two of the neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) at Norton Children’s Hospital, with renovations and additions totaling over 101,000 square feet.

“The project has been a jigsaw puzzle as we moved existing departments to make space for the new unit,” said DesignGroup’s Director and Healthcare Studio Leader Elliott Bonnie, AIA, LEED AP BD+C. “Throughout the project we focused on the family-centered model of care,” Bonnie said. DesignGroup is the planner and design architect for the project and is collaborating with a local firm to complete construction.

Part of the puzzle was redesigning the first floor into a new 7,000-square-foot conference center. Moving the conference center from the sixth floor to the first floor created space to accommodate a 24-bed medical and surgical unit, which had been on the fourth floor. The pediatric intensive care unit, which is also being renovated, will remain on the fourth floor with the new CICU.

In total, 20 different departments were moved to make space for the renovations. The moves not only made space but also consolidated services to make the hospital more efficient and more accessible to patients.

 “We are always striving to improve, and this project will bring additional areas of our facility up to the same level of excellence as the care offered by our doctors, nurses and other staff,” said Kathy Lamb, vice president of operations, Norton Children’s Hospital. “We’ve designed these new units to include family-oriented amenities, such as private rooms, play areas and other spaces to stay during their time here. Norton Children’s Hospital always aims to provide the very best approach to care, and this project gets us much closer to that goal.”

More than 1,400 critically ill and premature infants come to the hospital each year for neonatal intensive care services. The CICU will include 3 neonatal rooms and 14 private CICU patient rooms that will be connected. Also included is a new family-dedicated gathering space which serves as a focal point providing families with opportunities for connection and respite. In the NICU renovations, 29 patient beds will be converted to private beds.

“It’s important that the design stay true to Norton Children’s culture – providing the best space to care for our patients and their families while also supporting our staff and their vital work, added Lamb.

Clear wayfinding signs that are unique to each floor as well as welcoming graphics on the walls are designed to make visitors feel at ease. Visiting rooms for extended family are being added that provide natural light and a view of the healing garden. Additionally, free classes will be offered to the community in the new and renovated spaces, covering topics such as nutrition and family education.

The Children’s Hospital Foundation has committed to raise $20 million toward the total investment of the project. The expected completion for the CICU is the end of 2019. The entire renovation and expansion project is slated for completion in 2021.

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