Health Care Architecture & Fabrication

New in health care is the challenge for designers and architects to design health care facilities that will last for decades and longer. Design professionals are being charged with the responsibility of designing healthcare structures that are ideal for current technology, but are also flexible and durable enough to transform spaces easily and affordably.

Healthcare Design Magazine reported that the new Center for Care and Discovering on the University of Chicago Medicine's campus was designed with the intention of doing just that. The 1.2 million square-foot center is relatively low to the ground at only 10 stories and was built to be the ultimate in transformative design.

"On our site visits, we saw some hospitals that had ORs on two floors, which worked just fine," said Elizabeth Lockwood, project manager for University of Chicago Medicine, according to the news source. "But we liked the idea of having just one big floor. The units can flex over time in size. [Also, one floor cuts down on travel time for staff]."

According to the news source, the client desired a structure that would last for 100 years and adapt to the changing needs of the healthcare industry. In the last 100 years, healthcare and the technologies used for treatment have undergone a rapid transformation. This new building is intended to take the evolutionary nature of the industry and adapt without major problems. This was managed with the inclusion of a very walking-friendly design, a lot of natural light and easily adaptable spaces.

"The development of the universal grid was a response to optimizing all major hospital programmatic platforms within a singular structural grid," said Elizabeth Rack, principal, Cannon Design, according to the news source. "The importance of the universal grid is heightened by a building of this size and complexity where different programs are stacked vertically."

This new trend toward smart-design medical centers is expected to continue to grow as more and more facilities adopt this transformative ideal. Architects & designers are specifying interior finish materials that are also expected to be adaptable, durable and practical. ASST can help you meet these challenges by providing quality solutions  in solid surface, translucent resin materials as well as millwork and plastic laminate.

Listed below are just a few of the design solutions we offer our healthcare clients:

• Full package Division 6 casework (available in a variety of materials)
• OR paneling
• Trespa™ wall panels
• Toilet partitions
• SCULPTCOR®   wall panel system (with hard seam joints)
• Modular Vanity™ System
• MatchLine™ Stainless Sinks
• Cradle™ Baby Bowl

For further information on ASST's comprehensive offerings for health care, visit www.asst.com or contact ASST architectural support 717.630.1251 x305.

Preventing the spread of infections and diseases in medical centers is a primary goal for those in the healthcare industry. Medical professionals, interior designers and architects are working together to design spaces that will help decrease the likelihood of a disease spreading.

The importance of working conditions in healthcare
According to Health Facilities Management Magazine, medical spaces must provide good working conditions for professionals and surfaces that do not facilitate the transmission of pathogens. Infection control and prevention are key qualities in any medical center or hospital.

As Jennie Evans, R.N., LEED AP, EDAC, vice president at design firm HKS, Dallas, stated, "design is married to operations."

The use of high-quality solid surface materials that will decrease the spread of disease is a crucial component of any design.

"We need materials and surfaces that can withstand the types of cleaning that we have to do in health care environments," said Linda L. Dickey, R.N., MPH, CIC, director of epidemiology and infection prevention, University of California–Irvine, according to the news source. "For furnishings, we're looking for materials that won't easily deteriorate or crack or break, so that we can appropriately clean them. We have to clean with frequency and clean with chemicals that, for right now, are pretty hard on surfaces, and so we need materials that are resilient."

Bathroom vanity solutions for healthcare facilities
Hospitals or other medical centers looking for the right solution may want to consider specifying ASST's Modular Vanity™ System. Bathrooms are some of the hardest places to not only clean but make compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Created by ASST, this innovative wall hung vanity system utilizes a sturdy aluminum and polyethylene support structure with a thermoformed 1/4" thick removable (solid surface or resin) front panel allowing for easy access to plumbing. The vanity system is available in 30" wide increments and includes both a backsplash, side panels and an integral sink bowl. 

Easy to clean, these units are the ideal solution for a medical center or hospital because they help decrease the spread of diseases. To learn more, contact architectural support at ASST: 717.630-1251 x305 or go online and visit www.asst.com.

In the fast-paced world of healthcare development, hospitals and medical practices are working to provide the right blend of substance and design aesthetic to patients and staff. According to architects interviewed by Healthcare Design Magazine, buildings are now being designed to accommodate the changing healthcare environment. New technologies and procedures are being produced at such a pace that designers are needing to looking into their crystal ball to try and determine what space is needed where to try and accommodate these changes. 

As you can imagine, this creates some difficulties, but designers are managing. What becomes more interesting is the focus on aesthetic appeal in these medical spaces. More and more hospitals and medical practices are focusing on making spaces beautiful and inviting, without negatively impacting functionality. This is where ASST comes into the equation and offers solutions that are both function-oriented and beautiful for hospitals and medical practices. SCULPTCOR™ by ASST is a patented thermoformed architectural wall panel system that takes inspiration from diverse elements and forms found in nature. The system is fabricated from non-porous, durable, stain-resistant, and easy to clean solid surface. The wall panel sizes are 24×64 nominally and are presently available in three standard patterns: Twist, Wave and Smooth. Panel reveals can be specified either straight or curved in five (5) standard colors: pure white, cream, warm white, frozen white and white lotus. Additional colors and special panel sizes are available. The largest uncut pressed panel size available is 29.5" x 72"

SCULPTCOR™ by ASST can be utilized in a variety of project applications such as wall panels, column covers, retail facades, elevator cladding, casework, ceiling panels and furniture. Complete Autodesk 3D REVIT file and 2D standard details and specifications are available for download on the Autodesk SEEK website.

Please contact ASST at 717.630.1251 x305 for architectural support.

There's certainly no debating the fact that the functionality of a newly constructed hospital is the principle concern. The goal, ultimately, is to be able to efficiently serve as many patients as possible by giving doctors, nurses and other staff members the space and tools they need.

At the same time though, this doesn't mean that architects and designers should be completely disregarding the appearance and aesthetic value of the hospitals they're designing. The influence of hospitality design is infiltrating other market areas. A recent Healthcare Design Magazine article, for instance, noted that the function of hospital lobbies, specifically, have changed significantly in recent years. Whereas they once served as a simple point of entry and place to gather initial information, lobbies now serve as a means of orienting visitors and even a waiting area for both visitors and patients.

"Lobbies have the power to charm, dazzle, and entice you," Michael Bedner, chairman and CEO of interior design consultant Hirsch Bedner Associates, told the publication. "Guests' impressions of what they are about to experience both start and end with the lobby. That's why lobby design — the visual images, the total sensory experience — is so important."

The balance between offering a caring, yet professional environment for hospital patients and visitors can be met in a number of ways from a design perspective. SCULPTCOR™, is a patented thermoformed architectural wall panel system created by  ASST, that is not only durable and stain-resistant, but can also provide a more upscale hotel-like hospitality environment.

One specific aspect of the hospital interiors that can make a major impression is lighting. Lighting is known to have a subtle, subconscious effect on individuals' moods, a particularly crucial concern for hospitals that want to offer as soothing, relaxing an atmosphere as possible. SCULPTCOR™ can also be done as LED backlighted custom ceiling elements as shown below in the ceiling completed for Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. Please contact us at 717-630-1251 x305 or www.asst.com for further information.

Across the nation, hospitals and various medical groups are stepping up their game concerning pediatric care in terms of new facilities. Healthcare Design Magazine reports that despite the sluggish economy and tightening budgets, many hospitals are investing in either renovating or building new pediatric facilities. 

"What's fueling pediatric projects is the successful ability to raise funds and enact fundraising projects," said J. Patrick Schultz, director of EwingCole's Washington, D.C., healthcare practice, according to the news source. "While hospital budgets remain tight, major donors and benefactors will always find a way to donate for children's facilities."

Funding for pediatric care centers is increasing as demand rises for new, high-quality facilities. According to the news source, the demand is, in part, the result of previous short sights in constructing friendly and efficient children's medical centers. 

"There are pockets of children's networks or hospitals around the United States that have a national name or a national brand, but there really haven't been too many hospitals dedicated to the needs of younger populations," Andrew Quirk, senior vice president and national director, Healthcare Center of Excellence, Skanska USA Building, told the news source. 

These children's facilities are being outfitted with age-appropriate materials, design and systems. For the maternity and infant toddler centers, baby bathing bowls remain a standard need. The solid surface design solutions crafted by ASST are ideal for nurseries and delivery rooms. By using these bowls, children's heads and bottom are safely positioned to reduce the chance of an accident occurring. The Cradle™ Baby Bowl by ASST was developed in collaboration with labor and delivery nursing teams to provide a design solution that was integrally mounted, seamless and provided the proper ergonomic support for a child. ASST created the bathing bowl design utilizing patented thermoforming technologies resulting in a product solution that has been utilized for hospital systems throughout North America. For more information about ASST's Cradle™ Baby Bowl, please contact us at 717-630-1251 x305 or visit www.asst.com.