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A Green, Serene Space for Patients to Heal

In the U.S., Shady Grove Medical Center’s new patient tower is expected to open in 2024.

Adventist HealthCare News
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A Green, Serene Space for Patients to Heal
[Image: Adventist HealthCare]

Nature is a key feature of Shady Grove Medical Center’s new patient tower in Rockville, Maryland, United States. The new patient tower coming to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center will give patients, their families, and caregivers a breath of fresh air — literally and visually. Architects and designers are finalizing plans for the state-of-the-art medical units, with construction for the tower set to begin January 2023. 

The tower will stand on the surface parking lots outside Shady Grove’s current emergency department. It will also make way for a unique ambiance of green space, trees, and views. 

Inside, the tower will house a new emergency department and intensive care unit. It will also include medical surgical rooms, an emergency psychiatric unit, and an observation unit. The tower also relocates cardiac catheterization labs and places a new helipad on top of the tower, both designed to increase timely access to medical care.

The architects wanted to celebrate and advance Shady Grove’s history of providing a peaceful place for patients to heal. So, they carefully created green spaces at the new tower.

“Shady Grove is a bustling medical center with a campus perimeter lined with legacy trees that are 40, 50, and 100 years old. So, we’ve worked hard to preserve that character with our new tower,” explains Todd Cohen, associate vice president of Facilities and Real Estate at Adventist HealthCare. “We want every patient who looks out the window to experience the healing nature of Shady Grove.”

A Peaceful Care Setting

The new patient tower will have a 20,000-square-foot green roof. Landscapers will cover this solid roof with many species of plants, which are not only beautiful but aid with stormwater management. The roof will also be visible from the existing hospital building’s birth center, providing a pleasant view for new parents during their stay.

“When you put a building in front of a building, you have to consider the view. That’s the attention to detail we’ve tried to maintain,” Cohen said.

The new tower will also feature an outdoor garden — visible one story up from street level. Families with loved ones in the intensive care unit can access the garden via a door in the family lounge.

“Worried family members can take a break and catch a breath of fresh air without going too far away from their loved ones,” Cohen said. “They have the option of sitting in a serene, pretty, and modern room, or they can go outside for a few minutes. We want to support them.”

Other ways the new patient tower will bring the outdoors inside include vivid, high-resolution nature images in patient rooms and nurses’ stations, and rejuvenating staff lounges with views of the outdoors.

How Green Space Helps to Heal

The green spaces and light-drenched views will be visually pleasing, but that’s not the only reason the architects built them into their designs.

“When we expose patients to natural light and plants — even if it’s just a photo or colors found in nature, such as greens and pastels — they tend to do better, sleep better, and be happier,” Cohen said. “Some literature says a green environment can even help to reduce the length of a patient’s hospital stay.”

Green spaces help family members cope better. And caregivers benefit too.

“Just as patients do, staff need to see the outdoors. Sometimes they come in before the sun rises, and they leave after the sun sets. We know people just do better with sunlight exposure,” Cohen said.

The latest medical technology, together with vibrant, living green spaces, will increase everyone’s well-being — patients, family, and employees.

The new patient tower at Shady Grove Medical Center is expected to open in 2024.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist HealthCare.

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