Shriners Hospital for Children–Lexington: Driving force behind construction of joint-use facility


It’s official. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Lexington has moved. The new facility, designed by SRG Partnership in Portland, Oregon, cost approximately $47 million and is located on the UK HealthCare Campus across from the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital. The new facility, owned and operated by Shriners Hospitals for Children, occupies 60,000 square feet of space on the bottom three floors for pediatric orthopedic care, and UK HealthCare leases the top two floors for ophthalmology services

We spoke to Craig Tompkins, an SRG principal who also serves as the firm’s healthcare director, to hear about the challenges of this project.

Medical News:  What were the primary challenges the design team faced, and how did the team overcome those challenges?

Craig Tompkins

Craig Tompkins: Part of what made this project challenging was the conditions affecting the operations of both Shriners Hospitals for Children in Lexington (SHC-LEX) and University of Kentucky Medical Center (UKMC) over the last decade, and resulted as the driving forces behind the construction of the joint-use facility.

Condition #1:  The SHC-LEX facility, originally constructed on its Richmond Road site in 1955, was designed as an inpatient care facility.  Over the last decade, the inpatient population has greatly reduced due to new technologies in minimally invasive surgery and outpatient care services making the existing hospital ineffective and inefficient for the increasing population of patients needing day-surgery and outpatient care.  A new model of care was needed to better serve this new patient type for Shriners.

Condition #2:  UKMC had just completed the Chandler Hospital, significantly increasing UKMC’s capacity for inpatient and acute care services.  A long-term collaboration between Shriners and UKMC identified mutual benefits to the relocation of the Shriners Pediatric Orthopedic program to their campus, utilizing the Chandler Hospital for all complicated, acute care cases, and a new Shriners facility designed for orthopedic assessment and diagnostic services, ambulatory surgery and rehabilitation care.

Condition #3:  Relocation of the UK HealthCare Ophthalmology Clinic was a high priority for UKMC, but a lack of available space and the necessary funds for construction was delaying its move.  The Shriners project included 2 additional floors to accommodate the UK HealthCare Ophthalmology program.

The solution included UKMC providing the necessary land, located directly adjacent to the Chandler Hospital and connected via sky bridges making travel safe and convenient for physicians, staff, patients and their families.  Shriners provided the necessary funding to design and build the joint-use facility.  Complications arose in the details of constructing a privately-owned building on public land.  The design and construction team worked with Shriners and UKMC to provide the necessary details to inform the legal agreements needed to build and operate the facility.

MN: What did the early design team meetings look like, and how was a consensus achieved?

CT: SRG organized the project participants into two primary groups including a leadership committee, and separate departmental user groups.  The leadership committee included a member of the Shriners National Board of Trustees, the Shriners Corporate Director of Design & Construction, the Hospital Administrator and Chief-of-Staff and members of the local Hospital Board of Governors.

Separate user groups from each hospital department also participated with the design team in the detailed programming and design of each specific functional area.  Project goals and guiding principles were established in early meetings that included all participants.   Subsequent multi-day workshops were then conducted that included separate meetings with departmental user groups.  Consensus was achieved by presenting specific departmental needs to the leadership group for final decision making.

MN: What decisions were made to invest in strengthening the patient experience?

CT: SRG conducted the initial project workshop with a focus on establishing a Project Vision and developing “Guiding Principles” for the design of the project.    The results of that initial workshop are included below.  In summary, the creating of a Patient Centered and Family Friendly healing environment was one of the highest priorities for the project.  Project design features to promote a stress-free healing environment included:

–  Easy wayfinding through perimeter circulation that provides visual connections to familiar surroundings and landmarks.
–  Increased access to natural light.
–  Positive distractions in the forms of artwork and graphic displays located in circulation areas and patient treatment areas.
–  Improved acoustics promoting a quiet hospital.
–  Localized controls in patient rooms for patient and family comfort.

Guiding Principles for Design

In support of the Aleppo Shriners Hospital for Children Mission Statement: to provide the highest quality care to children within a compassionate, family centered and collaborative care environment, the following Guiding Principles are provided for consideration:

Patient and Family Centered Care

  • Create comfortable, familiar and secure surroundings that that reduces stress and establish a healing environment for patients and families.
  • Provide clear and well identified pathways to and from centers of care for families and staff.
  • Create places of respite that provide comfort and needed amenities for patients and families.
  • Create streamlined and efficient check-in procedures that reduce waiting times.

Physician and Staff Support

  • Establish support services and amenities to physicians, clinicians and staff that support daily work activities in a comfortable and relaxed environment that fosters collaborative and compassionate care.

Efficient and Well Organized Centers of Care

  • Create efficient and well planned spaces that reduce waste and travel times for families, staff, supplies, information and equipment during daily activities.
  • Establish organized and efficient departments that support and foster collaboration amongst physicians, clinicians and staff.

Sustainable Design Practices

Provide environmentally conscious design practices that support sustainable design goals of minimal environmental impact, waste prevention and relating people to the natural environment.  These practices may include:

  • Non-toxic sustainably produced or recycled materials which require little energy to process or produce.
  • Energy efficient environmental building systems such as heating, cooling and lighting.
  • High quality and durable materials that are longer lasting and better functioning, products that require less maintenance and less frequent replacement.
  • Design spaces and functions that encourage re-use and recycling.