Many of Lurie Children's key design decisions reflect evidence-based design features intended to improve care for children. Our team reviewed the growing body of evidence that shows that hospital design impacts patient stress, patient and staff safety, staff effectiveness and care quality in order to determine which features to incorporate into the design of Lurie Children’s. Some examples include:
- All private inpatient rooms to reduce infection
- Acuity adaptable rooms in the Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit to eliminate transfers to another unit when a patient’s condition changes
- Decentralized nursing stations to increase staff time spent in direct patient care
- Access to sunlight and views of nature to reduce stress
We are also conducting our own studies to add to the latest findings. We’re working with the Center for Health Design’s Pebble Project, an international collaboration of hospitals that have built new facilities and share their pre-to-post occupancy research in order to advance evidence-based design. In addition to Children’s Memorial, only three other pediatric hospitals are participating in the project.
Facility Design Impact on Trauma of Hospitalization in Children
The stress of hospitalization can lead to symptoms of psychological trauma, such as sleep disruption and separation anxiety, for months after the child goes home. Jenifer Cartland, PhD, Director of the Child Health Data Lab (CHDL) at Children’s Memorial Research Center, is conducting a pilot study to determine if elements of hospital design can add to a supportive child-centered toolkit children’s hospitals can use to make the experience less traumatic for children.
Examples of design elements that will be included at Lurie Children’s that are hypothesized to reduce child and parent stress include:
- Private rooms with control over light and artwork
- Family amenities
- Respite spaces such as the Crown Sky Garden
- Child-friendly creative features on each floor offered through partnerships with the city’s cultural institutions
Dr. Cartland received funding for this pilot study from the Center for Health Design. In future studies, she hopes to evaluate in greater depth the stress-reducing impact of designs for the Emergency Department and the Psychiatric Unit at Lurie Children’s.
Centralized vs. Decentralized Nursing Stations: The Effect on Nursing Staff
A study comparing caregiver communication, teamwork, stress and quality of care on units with a centralized nursing station at the current hospital versus a decentralized design at Lurie Children’s is being led by Associate Chief Nurse Executive Sherri Ewing, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, and Karen Richey, MBA, RN, Administrator of Acute Care Services.
Centralized unit designs typically include a large nursing station that concentrates all patient charts, computers, medications and staff that need access to this information together in one location. A decentralized unit design brings nursing staff and supplies closer to patients. At Lurie Children’s, the units will have one nursing workstation with a chair and computer for every two patient rooms and four care team stations distributed at different ends of the unit.
Previous hospital design research has primarily focused on benefits to patients, with few studies looking into unit design improvements from the caregiver perspective. Funding by the Shaw Faculty Collaborative Research Grant will provide support for Phase I data collection of nurse perceptions of the care environment within the current hospital’s unit design, as well as data on quality outcomes. Phase II of the study will evaluate the same measures at Lurie Children’s six months after the move, and then again one year later.
The results of this study will provide valuable evidence on how patient care unit design impacts nursing staff performance and quality of care.
More studies to evaluate outcomes related to the design of Lurie Children’s are in development.