RSC Architects Designs New Medical-Surgical Unit for Englewood Hospital

Hackensack, New Jersey – Industry-wide efforts to deliver an improved hospital experience for patients and families, combined with the pressure to safely minimize the length of a hospital stay, have created a movement toward patient-centric healing environments. In addition, hospitals are under intense scrutiny regarding infection prevention and the efficacy of their staff.

RSC Architects has completed the design of a newly-renovated medical-surgical unit that serves cardiopulmonary patients at New Jersey’s Englewood Hospital and Medical Center. It is the latest in a series of on-going renovations, with mainly single-occupancy rooms, to improve the patient experience, promote healing, and prevent the spread of infection. The renovations of this multi-phase project have resulted in upgraded patient rooms, new waiting areas, family and patient lounges, and Care Team stations.

RSC Architects first redesigned a 13,000 s.f. nursing unit on the hospital’s third floor. This northwest wing project converted fourteen double-bed, semi-private rooms and eight private patient rooms into twenty modern, private rooms that are each approximately 225 s.f. Phase One of this renovation, which was completed in late 2016, utilized the hospital’s own construction crew, allowing the hospital to have more control over the process and also bringing the final construction cost in under budget.

“Single-occupancy rooms give patients more privacy and families more support space. It’s the latest trend in healthcare design,” says John P. Capazzi, AIA, President of RSC Architects. “For the interior, we’re using warm lighting and wooden accents to create an environment that promotes emotional and physical healing. The goal of the redesigned and renovated rooms is to create a hospitable atmosphere that puts an emphasis on patient care and well-being.”

The rooms are designed to give patients and families greater flexibility and to streamline staff accessibility to supplies. Each patient room has its own supply storage outside the door, reducing the distance that nurses have to travel for supplies, and allowing them to restock without disturbing the patient. This feature offers a calm, healing environment for the patient and a more efficient and effective process for nurses and staff.

An interesting yet functional design feature includes the use of advanced, flexible Willow Glass, which covers the television, clock, and other wall accents to help with infection prevention and to give the room a more streamlined look and feel. New lighting throughout the hospital rooms also provides energy-efficient LED illumination that can be controlled by the patient for a customized level of brightness.

“The mission of this multi-phase modernization project is to reduce the stark, clinical feel of older patient rooms and transform them into warm, hospitable environments,” says Pasquale Avallone, LEED AP, Healthcare Manager of RSC Architects. “We used a modular manufactured construction method on the headwalls and the footwalls of the rooms so we could embed the necessary technology, like medical gas outlets. We also made sure our design allows for flexibility to update the systems with new innovations in the field.”

RSC also designed a waiting area as a part of Phase One that leads into the third-floor patient care unit, as well as three decentralized care team stations that allow for unit supervision, a patient lounge, and staff and patient support spaces that meet functional and licensing requirements. The challenges of this project included formulating a cohesive design that would fit within the tight existing floor plan, and dividing a long corridor without disrupting the operational flow.

“Given our rich history and focus on what’s best for patients, it was important for us to work with an established and reputable firm like RSC Architects on the renovation of our patient rooms. The patients and staff love the upgraded comfort and accessibility,” says Warren Geller, CEO of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center. “We felt that RSC understood the needs of a healthcare facility, and could create a design based upon healthcare trends that optimized functionality for our staff while providing more hospitable healing spaces for our patients.”

Additional components of the rooms include:

  • Private bathrooms.
  • Forty-inch, high-definition televisions.
  • Couches that convert into beds for family members.
  • Multiple power/USB outlets to charge phones, tablets, and laptops.