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Designing a Hospital for Caring

Hospitals construct new buildings all the time, but Cone Health wanted the new Women’s Hospital to be different. They wanted to design a hospital completely built around the patient experience. To do this, they shadowed patients and families throughout their experience in the existing Women’s Hospital. They then worked with their architect to find ways to incorporate the feedback from patients, caregivers and all levels of staff on a design that would provide the best treatment for patients.

It’s one thing to see a floor plan on paper, but to really understand how space would be used, Cone Health created a full-sized, cardboard model of the main floors of the new building. This ‘cardboard city’ model allowed Cone Health providers to visualize the space and make placement recommendations based on what will support their work and help them offer the best care. Caregivers and patients were able to walk through the hospital rooms as if they were in the actual building, and suggest changes based on their experience rather than an idea. This practice was powerful and led to changes in placement of rooms, doors, windows, and beds. NICU dads even influenced the placement of the TV!

The new Women’s Hospital has been designed for what the mom of 2017 is interested in. Patient and caregiver feedback led to a design that focuses on natural light, plenty of respite areas and peaceful outdoor spaces. Throughout the design process, Cone Health has focused on creating a space that best meets the needs of patients, providers, and caregivers while also enhancing quality and healthcare experiences for our patients and their families.

Spokesperson Background:

Karin Henderson is the executive director of strategic management at Cone Health. She received her Bachelor of Science in nursing from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and her Master of Science in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is a credentialed critical care nurse, certified in executive nursing practice and has her lean certification.