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Alberta Children’s Hospital, Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Designing an ICU for the hospital’s tiniest patients was no small task

Calgary, Alberta

A Level 3 NICU is reserved for the most serious cases—infants who need mechanical ventilation support and immediate access to subspecialty consultants. Before starting our design we did extensive research, touring NICUs in Canada and the US. We also conducted focus groups with parents whose babies were in NICUs. It was important that our design met the needs of stressed parents as well as their babies.

Workflow was the other main driver for the design. We conducted intensive mock-ups with participation from clinicians and facility operations staff. Their feedback helped us anticipate and solve problems and build consensus.

We made the most of available natural light by aligning the corridors with views to the outside. Using glass doors at the ends of hallways brings light deeper into the central space creating a more positive environment for ICU staff.

We designed the rooms with equipment, supplies, and connections all located in exactly the same places in every room. Nurses and doctors can enter any room and reach for the right tools without hesitation—promoting safe and efficient care for these tiny patients. We furnished the rooms so parents can stay with their babies 24-7.

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