Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) is a community hospital located in the heart of Sarasota, Florida. When increased growth of services and patient population became a catalyst for expanding the campus’ existing rehabilitation department, Gresham Smith was tasked with designing a new 76,000-square-foot, four-story inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation facility to optimize and enhance the high-quality care SMH is known for providing.
From Outdated to State-of-the-Art
Located in the hospital’s East Tower, the existing rehabilitation wing had served the community well for 30 years. However, lack of space in the patient rooms coupled with low ceilings didn’t allow for the latest therapy tools or technologies. Gresham Smith worked hand in hand with the client to develop a rehabilitation facility that not only supported advanced technologies but also featured all-private inpatient rooms and therapy areas that were spacious, practical and state-of-the-art.
Mock-up Aids in Collaborative Decision-Making
To guide SMH with the configuration of the private inpatient rooms, we designed and built a full-scale mock-up of a typical patient room. To completely outfit the space, we provided all equipment, furniture, wall-mounted devices and lighting fixtures. Extensive meetings and tours were held in the mock-up throughout the design phase, giving patients, physicians, staff and the community an opportunity to provide constructive feedback. After evaluating all observations, the inpatient room was revised and rebuilt to incorporate the comments that were most valuable to the client.
Preparing for the Real World
Particular emphasis was placed on the operational efficiency of the facility’s inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation gyms. Both feature life-skills retraining areas—including a mock grocery store, a mock car, and a mobile-home staircase and entry door—all providing simulation therapy that allows patients to practice real-world activities.
A Holistic Design Approach
Along with focusing on physical independence, the new spaces were designed to support a patient’s emotional well-being. The interior’s soft color palette strikes a harmony with the artwork, natural lighting and high ceilings, creating a calming environment for patients and their families. Corridors were designed to offer respite by providing resting niches at regular intervals where patients can take a break on cushioned benches that serve as destination points during gait training. Each niche features an inspirational quote that encourages them to persevere. The alcoves also serve as collaborative spaces for nurses and students.
A Multi-terrain Outdoor Mobility Garden
With the new facility came new opportunities to provide spaces that were non-existent in the old rehabilitation wing, such as a unique outdoor mobility garden. Serving as a vital fall-prevention and therapy tool, the wheelchair-accessible space offers patients a real-world practice field for navigating various types of terrains. Featuring planting beds and a putting green to encourage patients to practice the hobbies they enjoy, the garden’s beautiful landscaping also provides a serene environment for families as well as staff, who often complete their charting in this area at the end of the day.
An Atmosphere of Hope and Healing
The only facility of its kind in Sarasota County, the new Rehabilitation Pavilion at SMH offers the community a wide range of leading-edge rehabilitation services under one roof. The pavilion’s innovative design not only helps patients regain their independence following surgery, strokes and other trauma-related injuries, but also provides an atmosphere of hope and healing that supports their drive to recover.