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Facility close-up on healthcare: a new addition.

Reflecting pools, flowing water, landscaped courtyards, tree-filled atriums, soothing art, and pleasing sculptures are what the public will experience for the first time at the unveiling of the new maternity center at Gaston Memorial Hospital, Gastonia, NC. Affectionately known as The Birthplace, the maternity center reflects an evolution in healthcare design by focusing its priorities on family centered care. Designed by internationally acclaimed architectural firm KMD of San Francisco, The Birthplace is the largest facility of its kind in the nation.

KMD's design not only celebrates warmth and community, but also maximizes efficiency. An interior "main street" connects the center's principal amenities--courtyards, family rooms, media rooms, dining facilities, as well as the resource library, children's library, and classrooms--with the surgery suites Off this main street, visitors and staff are directed to several "neighborhoods" that accommodate 52 Single Room Maternity Care (SRMC) suites, the NICU and full-term baby nursery, and the surgical suite for complicated deliveries.

Each neighborhood features a town square with a central nursing station, lush courtyards, and widened corridors with cathedral ceilings. Diffused streams of warming, natural light filter through the entire "inside-out" garden design of the maternity village plan.

The SRMC suites employ the latest medical technology, placing The Birthplace on the cutting-edge of the future of healthcare. The suites allow families to stay in one room for the entire stay, thereby reducing stress and creating a supportive, family centered environment. The SRMCs are also equipped with high-speed Internet, digital cameras, full size sofa beds, refrigerators, TV/DVD/CD players, and whirlpool baths.

Perhaps the most progressive feature of The Birthplace is the 16-suite neonatal intensive care unit. Newborns requiring Level II or III intensive care share their own private room with their parents. Research shows that individually controlled light, sound, and temperature, as well as parental involvement, lead to optimal outcomes and shorter hospital stays for both infant and morn.

"We conducted interviews with moms, expecting moms, staff members, direct and indirect family members, and together came up with the idea of creating a healthcare village that encourages family involvement, promotes wellness and education, fosters interaction, and celebrates the joyous event," says Jim Diaz, director of healthcare, KMD, Ban Francisco.

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Title Annotation:Newsworthy; Gaston Memorial Hospital
Publication:Buildings
Geographic Code:1U5NC
Date:Feb 1, 2005
Words:364
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