Later this summer WellStar Healthcare will open a children’s Pediatric center in NW Cobb County. This new facility has been designed for an extraordinary patient experience. “The challenge was to design a pediatric facility for a wide range of ages—from babies to adolescents,” says CDH project manager Rhea Jeanne Starnes.
“Many times rooms in other diagnostic centers will be colorful but this one takes color and design to another level. When it comes to imaging, WellStar is highly successful. There are children centers in place around the metro Atlanta area, but this center is different because it’s a specialty, multi-functional facility designed for kids.”
“WellStar really cares about the type of images they get, and they are using Phillips equipment, which is the top of the line. Phillips also delivers an “ambient” experience. This means that there are positive distractions built in through audio and visual technology, which is patient driven. This type of experience helps a patient relax and feel calm. It also provides better outcomes.”
Ambient lighting is soft and pleasing. It includes calming sounds for less stress and increased procedure efficiency. “Patients, in this case children, have to be really still for a long period of time, and the ambient experience can help them do this better. After all, it can be frightening to have a scan done when Mom or Dad are not as close as usual.”
WellStar is taking a further step by also including a Kitten Scanner in the facility. This is a small version of a larger scanner that is used to help children learn about their procedures. They can scan a dinosaur, a chicken, space man, or elephant. The model scanner scans the toy and then displays its “insides” on screen. This small screen helps to clarify the scanner’s purpose. As children play with the scanner, their attention is redirected to having fun rather than worrying about the upcoming procedure.
When designers for CDH saw the potential to increase the overall experience for patients and parents, they made a bold decision to use the ambient concept as a main design element. A large interactive screen will be located in the lobby and before they have their procedure, patients can choose what scene they would like to have in their MRI, CT, or X-Ray rooms. For example, if someone chooses a beach scene, his or her procedure room will be transform in to a beach, complete with tropical fish, and audio sounds.
“This is a place where I would want my son or daughter to go. But it is also a place where I would feel comfortable sitting and waiting while the procedure is done. We wanted a patient to walk in the door and be met with positive distractions that reduce stress and help them to feel calmer. There is light and color everywhere. So, it is really quite magical from the entrance through the entire building.”