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Why Orlando Health is opening a 'hotel that offers exceptional medical care'


In July, Orlando Health will open a new 110-bed, four-story rehabilitation center that flipped the traditional health care facility design model on its head, creating what its senior project designer says is "a hotel that offers exceptional medical care," Naseem Miller reports for the Orlando Sentinel.

The planner's guide to innovative health care facility design

The hotel experience

What sets this medical facility apart from others, according to senior project designer Emily Pathak, is the design and feel. Traditionally, Pathak explained health care facility designers strive to build medical facilities that are "'hospitality-like.'" But for this latest project, "we said no no no no no, because we've seen that and it's not done well," Pathak explained. So her team strived to create a medical environment that really makes patients and visitors feel like they're in an actual hotel.

Toward that end, Pathak spent many nights trying to find just the right lighting fixtures, Miller reports. She wanted some that were both easy to clean and looked expensive.

And rather than typical institutional wall art, the rehabilitation rooms will feature large vintage sports-themed murals, Miller writes. Another hotel-like touch: The facility will have luggage carts sitting in the front lobby. 

But Pathak's "biggest splurge," Miller writes, were headboards for patient beds on the rehab. Typically, Pathak noted, "You don't see a decorative headboard like you would see in a hotel in a clinical environment." So she tried something different. The headboards she selected are still "covered in the clinical-medical grade vinyls" and have "the durability that you need but" with "a different look and feel."

Curvy halls that serve a purpose

The center will have 110 beds, 60 beds of which will be for patients who need short-term rehab, Miller writes. These patients typically stay for 30 to 45 days. Their beds will be on the top two floors.

On the second floor, 10 beds will be dedicated for inpatient hospice care from Cornerstone Hospice, which operates an inpatient hospice unit at Orlando Health's downtown campus. And on the first floor, there will be 40 beds for Alzheimer's and dementia patients, Miller writes.

When it came to the floorplan, Pathak said she used evidence-based design to plan each floor, which features a lot of angles and curves.

The Alzheimer's care area is designed in a figure eight so patients can wander endlessly, which many memory loss patients do, Pathak said. In addition, the building will have a large deck on the second floor with tables, chairs, and chases above a fenced green area for Alzheimer's patients.

The center will have a therapy gym for outpatient rehab and will later add a therapy garden outside. On the second floor, there will be a large café to serve patients and families.

Overall, Mark Marsh, president of Orlando Health-Health Central Hospital, said the center "is probably one of a kind that we're aware of in Florida" (Miller, Orlando Sentinel, 5/28).

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