Hospital Design Emphasizes Nontraditional Approach

By By Dan Hounsell
April 8, 2021

New healthcare facilities face mounting pressure to cater to the evolving needs of people and communities they serve. For one new facility, catering to those needs goes beyond the list of services to the actual design of the building.

With its new Medical Tower II project, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) in Norfolk, Va., aims to provide a new line of mental and behavioral health services to southeastern Virginia, according to Engineering News Record. The $224 million, 14-story hospital broke ground in September 2019 and is scheduled for substantial completion in February 2022.

It will house services that follow a nontraditional approach to behavioral and mental health treatment, requiring the team to collaborate extensively in order to meet its unique design considerations. Tamika Harris, vice president of facilities and support services at CHKD, says the hospital system has seen increased demand for inpatient mental and behavioral health services in recent years, but it didn’t have the facilities to properly care for patients at its existing 60-year-old hospital.

In evaluating the best approach for its new program, CHKD and its design team adopted a philosophy that reduces or eliminates the need for restraint therapy and de-emphasizes medicating patients. Rather than moving patients to isolation rooms, patients will be allowed to “act out in place.”

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