Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Facility Design Showcase

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Facility Design Showcase

Article excerpt

The Hancock Geriatric Treatment Center in Williamsburg, Vir- ginia, opened in April 2008, and is the first component of the state s three-phase project to replace the hospital s out- dated facilities and create a homelike environment. The Hancock Center, a psychiatric intermediate care facility specializing in geriatric patients, was designed by Clark Nexsen Architecture & Engineering and developed by Gilbane Development Company. The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships recognized the project with a 2008 Innovation Award (For more details, see behavioral, net/eastern103008).

This $28 million, 150-bed, single-story facility is 116,000 square feet. Patients and visitors arrive in a lobby through sliding glass doors flanked by large vases with plants. The reception area was designed to resemble a boutique hotels lobby, with an awning above a concierge-style desk and acrylic canvas art in elegant frames, ex- plains John Keegan, PE, vice-president of Gilbane Development Company.

Facility planners consulted behavioral health and geriatric design experts when selecting interior finishes. For example, because seniors have "yellowing" vision, designers looked through a yellow-tinted film when selecting the building's color palette, says Keegan. In addition, safety features are incorporated throughout, such as continuous handrails in hallways.

The building has four patient wings connected by a "main street" decorated to resemble 1940s and '5Os storefronts to appeal to patients and help those with memory problems. For example, a beauty salon and barbershop features an original barber's pole. Outside the assembly room is a 35-foot cheater marquee displaying upcoming films or events, along with movie posters from the period. The entrances to the activity, occupational therapy, and physical therapy rooms, as well as other patient areas, are designed to look like shops with different colored awnings and signage.

Opposite the "storefronts" are 30-foot long, 6-foot high seasonal scenes of Northern Virginia, Images of the Washington Monument, springtime cherry blossoms, and other scenes remind patients of familiar places. The photographs are divided into Velcro-backed squares so staff can change them easily as seasons change.

The main street also features a wide gathering area with a 27-foot ceiling. …

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