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A new plan for patients in crisis

July 1, 2009
by Carl Hampson, AIA, LEED AP and Jill Bergman, AIA, LEED AP, ACHA
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Two buildings will offer a place for patients in Southern Arizona to recover

The three-level Behavioral Health Pavilion will have 96 private inpatient beds, outpatient services, classroom and teaching facilities, and a courtroom dedicated to patients admitted through the legal system. Special attention has been given to safety, privacy, security, and dignity throughout the facility. To simplify staff orientation, all inpatient rooms will be same-handed (i.e., same layout, not mirrored as commonly done to allow for back-to-back toilets), and each unit's layout will be identical. Separate entry points will allow segregated patient and staff movement onto units, greatly enhancing safety. Access to shaded outdoor gardens will be provided on all levels for inpatients, visitors, and staff to promote healing and overall well-being. In fact, the “healing garden” concept informed both buildings' design. Accessible exterior spaces that connect patients and staff directly to nature will be provided on each floor of the multilevel buildings, which were configured to minimize land use and optimize opportunities for future campus growth.

The crisis response center will have its own distinct lobby screened from the sun and set against the minimally glazed south wall of the treatment spaces. the crisis response center's lobby (inset) will feature a courtyard providing a shaded exterior oasis for visitors and staff, while forming a spatial buffer between the adult and youth patient services
The Crisis Response Center will have its own distinct lobby screened from the sun and set against the minimally glazed south wall of the treatment spaces. The Crisis Response Center's lobby (inset) will feature a courtyard providing a shaded exterior oasis for visitors and staff, while forming a spatial buffer between the adult and youth patient services.

Jill bergman, aia, leed ap, acha

Jill Bergman, AIA, LEED AP, ACHA

The existing campus's medical emergency department will be decommissioned and rebuilt on the lower level of the Behavioral Heath Pavilion. This will provide needed space and flexibility. A separate, smaller behavioral health emergency care unit will be constructed within the space vacated by the existing medical emergency department. Patients directed to the behavioral health emergency department will be transferred to any of the outpatient or inpatient treatment areas after being medically cleared.

The new structures will use sustainable design strategies, including optimum building orientation, indigenous landscaping, locally produced building materials with a high level of recycled content, and high-performance glazing and HVAC systems. Both buildings also will feature south-facing perforated sunscreens, allowing filtered views while reducing peak energy loads by up to 30%.

Balancing the challenges of a complex interdisciplinary program, unique environmental conditions, and a rigorous cost management agenda, the design of the state-of-the-art facilities was the result of a highly successful collaboration between the design team, administrators, future building users, executive leadership, and other key stakeholders. Peter Bryan, CEO of University Physicians Hospital, is confident that the new campus, scheduled to be completed in May 2011, will facilitate better access to care for behavioral health patients: “The consolidation of crisis management and inpatient and outpatient services in one primary location allows the campus to become known as the place to go when you are in need of mental health services and require immediate assistance.”

Carl Hampson, AIA, LEED AP, is a Vice-President with Cannon Design and Design Leader of the firm's San Francisco office. He has led the design of numerous award-winning healthcare projects.
Jill Bergman, AIA, LEED AP, ACHA, is a Vice-President with Cannon Design in San Francisco and a nationally recognized leader in healthcare planning.

For more information e-mail champson@cannondesign.com and jbergman@cannondesign.com.

Behavioral Healthcare 2009 July-August;29(7):38-40

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