One of the busiest outpatient centers in the United States, The Kirklin Clinic (TKC) of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital is renowned for providing advanced, patient-centered healthcare services. In order to consolidate similar service lines, UAB relocated its primary care clinics to the adjacent Whitaker Clinic of UAB Hospital, freeing up TKC’s footprint for its first clinic expansion in almost 20 years.
Along with being tasked with the renovation of multiple specialty clinics as part of the comprehensive project, Gresham Smith partnered with UAB Health System to design a new Infusion Therapy clinic as part of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. The development of the suite involved the demolition of 23,500 square feet of the existing 5th-floor buildout, allowing for the consolidation of Infusion Therapy services that were previously spread out across TKC as well as other locations within the UAB hospital system.
My colleague Erin McCullar and I had the privilege of working closely with UAB Hospital’s Infusion Therapy clinical group on the project. In this post, we take a look at TKC’s new home to Infusion Therapy, and how the state-of-the-art clinic enhances the patient experience for those receiving chemotherapy as well as other oncology infusion treatments.
Patient- & Family-Centric
Designed with family, privacy and comfort in mind, the new Infusion Therapy clinic at TKC houses 84 infusion stations that comprise private and semi-private patient stations, as well as open bays that provide a little more connectivity between patients. Fully glassed private stations offer extra protection and privacy for patients with immune deficiencies. As Infusion Therapy often takes several hours to complete, each patient station features visitor amenities, enabling family members to be present during infusion treatments.
Keeping Things In & Out of Sight
Creating a soothing environment, the new clinic space offers an abundance of natural light, with the north side of the building providing views of the downtown Birmingham skyline that offer a positive distraction. Every two patient stations are divided by casework that keeps medical equipment out of sight to help lower patient stress levels.
A Waiting Space of Their Own
To protect patient privacy and dignity, Infusion Therapy patients have their own waiting room. The designated waiting area exits directly to the elevator lobby so patients who may be weak or fatigued following an infusion treatment don’t have to walk through other clinic spaces to exit the building. As Infusion Therapy patients are often immunocompromised, isolating the infusion area provides an additional level of care.
Central Yet Private
Nurse station pods are configured throughout the 84-chair clinic to be central to each of the patient station types (private, semi-private and open bay). This provides nurses with a clear line of sight and close proximity to their patients, while at the same time offering them privacy.
Calming & Intuitive
Every design decision—from the program to the finishes—was made with the patient experience in mind. For example, a light, textural finish palette, with accents of warm wood tones, creates a calming environment. The simplicity of the color palette brings a sense of order and serenity to the experience. To enhance wayfinding, we added color to the nurse stations to strike a visual contrast that helps patients get their bearings within a 23,500-square-foot space that accommodates 84 patient stations.
Infusion chairs feature the latest technology, allowing patients to control the lighting in their station so they can read, sleep or meditate. The chairs are also equipped with outlets for chargers as well as heating and reclining capabilities. This sense of control gives patients a true feeling of independence, which ultimately contributes to the success of the overall healing process.
An Enhanced Treatment Experience
Designed for future growth and expansion, the new Infusion Therapy clinic at TKC offers patients chemotherapy, immunotherapies, and central line care. The cutting-edge space not only consolidates UAB’s Infusion Therapy services into one convenient location on their hospital campus, but also merges pharmacy services, laboratories and patient treatment on the 5th floor of TKC, further improving the efficiency of treatment visits, and creating the optimal healing environment for patients and their families.