Children’s National Hospital – Arrival and Patient Experience Transformation

  • area / size 20,000 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • Type Hospital,
  • HGA completed the transformation of the Arrival and Patient Experience for the Children’s National Hospital in Washington DC.

    HGA designed a new arrival and patient experience for Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. The hospital is dedicated to neonatal care, neurosurgery, oncology, and other specialties, and sought after by patients and families from all over the nation.

    Prior to the transformation, most patients and their families accessed the 323-bed facility from a sub-level garage, where low ceiling heights caused poor acoustics, low lighting added to heightened anxiety levels, and lack of visual wayfinding cues contributed to a feeling of confusion. To create an improved experience, HGA’s integrated internal team of designers, registered nurse, and researchers analyzed the patients’ journey through the existing sequence, surveyed families and staff, and developed solutions to create a more hospitable and safer arrival to the hospital.

    The fully modernized entrance experience includes drop-off, pick-up, and ‘kiss and ride’ areas, designed for transparency and ease of flow. ADA-accessible parking areas were expanded, and pedestrian circulation routes and entries were separated from staff shuttles for safety and efficiency.

    Additional improvements include a three-bank elevator system exclusive to visitors, new signage, and color-coded floor assignments coordinated with the hospital’s wayfinding improvement project. An impressive grand stairway in warm neutral tones and indirect lighting connects visitors to the main atrium and visitor check-in area.

    HGA considered age, cognitive levels, diminished vision, neurodiversity, and accessibility when specifying lighting materials, placements, and illuminance. Interior lighting was specified with low unified glare ratio (UGR) levels and regressed lighting fixtures infuse underground hallways and elevator bays in ways that will not overwhelm children and adults sensitive to light or their surroundings.

    The new arrival sequence features a design that is calming, with an appropriate amount of multisensory stimulation, engaging the visitor and helping to place them at ease. Engaging tactile surfaces provide positive distractions that help quell anxiety. Pops of color along accent walls and a 15-foot-tall structure, provided by RxArt Foundation titled, “Tree to Be Me,” stands at the base of the stairway and serves as an intriguing and memorable wayfinding landmark. The mixed media work of marble, steel, and fabric, created by The Haas Brothers, resembles a “magical beaded palm-tree” and features a “resident monkey” who greets visitors as they ascend the winding staircase.

    Design: HGA
    Contractor: Davis Construction
    Photography: Paúl Rivera