Lucile Packard’s Expansion Adds Patient-Centric Design to Children’s Hospital

March 22nd, 2018

Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital re-opened its main hospital building in December after a $1.2 billion expansion to double the size of its campus and reimagine how to deliver medical care to children.

The rebuild was required to meet California seismic safety standards, but the regulation gave Lucile Packard an opportunity to increase its bed capacity and build a hospital designed for children and their families. The building also meets sustainability standards unseen at many hospitals built several decades before — filled with more natural light, fresh air and new technology to boost its efficiency.

The new building accommodates more patients and staff. The previous hospital had been running at or near capacity. The bigger structure has 361 beds, up from 212. It includes upgraded labs and diagnostic services, 3.5 acres of gardens and more operating and imaging rooms.

Another priority was clear from the beginning: The new hospital needed to better welcome and care for children’s families, said Jill Sullivan, vice president of hospital transformation at Lucile Packard.

“We designed this hospital around the needs of not only patients, but our families. From the very moment that you enter into the building as you travel through, you see a lot of the design addresses the pediatric patient. Our statues and our animals are very low. There is a sense of discovery, and we look to the building as providing a healing journey,” Sullivan said.

Patients all have private rooms with access to the outdoor patios and garden areas, and studies show that nurturing, therapeutic indoor and outdoor spaces can aid in speeding recovery.

For instance, the lobby was redesigned to look out at the central garden instead of arriving cars. The garden is visible from most parts of the building, said Robin Guenther, lead architect and project director at Perkins+Wills, the architecture firm that headed redesign for the last 11 years.

“That completely changes the experience of being in the building. It feels quite like you’ve arrived, not like you’re passing through,” Guenther said.

The designers felt a “sameness” at existing U.S. children’s hospitals — lots of primary colors, geometric shapes and cartoonish animals and characters. That led them to consider an entirely different approach, one that paid homage to California’s natural ecosystem, animals and sustainability efforts, Guenther added.

“They wanted a building that belonged here and nowhere else. We wanted a building that belonged in Northern California,” Guenther said.

There are also major technology upgrades. The focus has been on integrating their various systems and tools to create a more seamless experience for patients and staff, said Dr. Natalie Pageler, chief medical information officer of Stanford Children’s Health. Real-time location badges, for example, alert the team when a nurse walks in to prepare medication.

Stanford is also working with Google data scientists to introduce artificial intelligence as it collects more data through electronic medical records. The hospital’s new mobile app directs patients as they arrive and provides appointment and medical information.

In addition to offering updated technology, the new campus was designed for greater sustainability. The hospital expects to save 800,000 gallons of water per year and reduce its thermal energy usage by some 60 percent. The curvature of the building keeps direct sun off the exterior as daylight changes, maintaining the temperature and lowering energy usage.

“We collect the condensation and the rainwater and other water from our dialysis program to fill two cisterns that are about 120,000 gallons. So we’re really proud of the fact that compared to other hospitals, we are very energy efficient,” Sullivan said.