Nationwide Childrens Hospital Unveils Clinical Interiors of New Main Hospital Set to Open in June 2012

December 15, 2010

Recently, Nationwide Children’s Hospital unveiled publically for the first time the clinical interiors of its new main hospital – the centerpiece of its six-part master facilities plan. On target to open in June 2012, Nationwide Children’s is undergoing the most expansive pediatric healthcare construction project ever undertaken. When complete, the hospital will add one million square feet of clinical and research space to the existing two million square feet; add an additional 2,400 hospital and research jobs; and generate a projected $1.3 billion in new regional economic activity. Once the new facility is open, and renovations have been made to the existing hospital, it will house 460 patient beds.

“Much is changing with Nationwide Children’s campus, but the hospital is still very much grounded in our founding mission,” said Abigail Wexner, Chair of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Board of Directors. “When the new hospital opens in 2012, we will build upon what has always been our key driver – to provide unrivalled pediatric care, and to not only those who seek our care, but beyond our four walls, helping the children of our community reach their optimal health.”

The six key areas of growth in the 2012 plan include a 12-story, 750,000 square foot new main hospital; a six-acre front lawn and green space that will complement Livingston Park; a LEED-certified silver central energy plant; expanded parking with the Livingston Avenue garage (more than 1,500 parking spaces) and the two-story underground parking garage located beneath the front lawn and connected via tunnel to the new tower (more than 400 spaces); a clinical research building that houses the Surgery Center, the Center for Digestive Disorders, GI procedures and clinical psychology as well as two floors dedicated to research; and an expanded West campus that includes a 225,000 square foot research facility known as Research III.

“Nationwide Children’s Hospital is expanding to meet the need of the patients and families we serve right here in our community and across the entire country,” said Steve Allen, MD, chief executive officer of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “Currently, we see more than 900,000 patients every year. That number will exceed one million patient visits by 2012. Our master facilities plan will allow us to lead the country in providing the best possible health outcomes for the children and families we serve.”

The new main hospital features a healing environment full of comforts and positive distractions for patients, families and staff including multimedia centers in the patient room, educational exhibits and niches with fun animal facts in hallways, views of the outside with large windows and custom furniture for family and patient comfort.

Overall design concepts and elements in the new main hospital center on nature – bringing the outside inside – promoting natural healing. Whimsical forest-friendly animals are incorporated, and a softened look utilizing a warm, glowing color palette is reflected throughout.

Research has shown that exposure to sunlight improves sleep, reduces depression, enhances patient mood, speeds recovery, improves staff productivity and can even reduce lighting expenses. Therefore, every room has a large window allowing natural daylight into the room that will help patients recover by reducing anxiety and associated complications.

Patient rooms and corridors are equipped with sound-absorbing materials to reduce ambient noise. Studies have shown that this supports better sleep and less stress for patients, families and caregivers, while creating a safer environment for the delivery of care. Every patient room in the hospital will be private, reducing the chance of infection and potential errors, enhancing sleep and supporting family inclusion. Also, patients and their families will have control of lighting and thermal comfort systems in their rooms.

The standardization in rooms and unit layout will reduce variability in configurations, increase safety through standardization of clinical support amenities as well as patient movement in the room, ease orientation to units, reduce frustration and stress and enhance facility flexibility for future utilization.

Patient rooms will …

  • Be private with a full bathroom – tub and shower combo – large enough to accommodate the patient’s caregiver.
  • Nearly double in size to 300 square feet, and have sleeping accommodations for two visitors with a sleeper sofa and trundle bed and a glider recliner that was specifically designed for the hospital.
  • Feature a LED color-changing head wall that can be controlled by the patient from their bed – “mood lighting” for kids.
  • Have a 42-inch flat screen TV.
  • Have increased storage with shelves for personal display items, and a dedicated locked drawer for patient/family valuables.
  • Have walls with magnetic paint allowing for artwork, get-well cards, etc. to be displayed.
  • Come equipped with technology that will support patient identification safety initiatives for medication delivery (bar-coding) and various procedures.
  • Have ceiling-mounted lifts for movement of patients that provide increased safety for both patients and staff. They will be located in all rehabilitation rooms and in other select patient rooms throughout the facility.
  • Include isolation supplies, frequently accessed supplies and patient medication in secured cabinets located right outside the patient room.
  • Have a staff workstation right outside the room so observation and documentation by the nurse can occur without disturbing the patient/family unless necessary.

Critical/intensive care rooms have …

  • The latest technology to optimize clinical practice and patient safety. For example, a hand held “light stick” allows staff to remotely direct surgical lights for critical procedures and vital patient care.
  • Overhead service booms that house medical gases, power and data in order to maximize the flexibility and positioning of the bed.
  • Secured medication pass-through that allows pharmacists to deliver patients’ medications to a locked cabinet from the hallway while the caregiver can then access these medications from inside the patient room. This will support efficiency and patient safety.
  • Small bathrooms (no shower); our current critical care rooms do not have bathrooms.
  • Internal windows allowing for staff to view both patients in adjacent rooms at one time in order to maximize clinical care and safety. These windows house mini-blinds to support patient and family privacy when the window is not in use by staff.
  • Increased storage for families with armoires and cabinets.

Emergency Department and Trauma Suites

  • Nationwide Children’s Emergency Department, Ohio’s first Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, will nearly double in size from 24,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet with an increase of patient exam rooms from the current 39 to 62 general exam and specialty care rooms.
  • The current emergency department treats more than 70,000 visits a year in spaces originally designed to see far less. The new facility will support rapid throughput, enhanced patient experiences and allow for continued growth.
  • Current and future trauma rooms allow for family inclusion and appropriate support staff for the family.

Nurse stations are …

  • Strategically located around the patient care unit. These more centralized work stations will support the collaboration of multiple disciplines that are vital to patient care and unit function. Centralized staff design promotes the family’s ease of accessing their patient caregivers.
  • Built with acoustic ceiling tiles that decrease the noise associated with natural gathering locations which could potentially minimize the risk of error.
  • Designed to be neat and orderly with monitors mounted on the wall to maximize work space and desk area.
  • In addition, centralized medication rooms are located right next to nurse stations. Every unit will have a standardized configuration making inventory and stocking practices efficient and safe. This also benefits unit orientation and efficiency for those caregivers who support multiple patient units.

Hospital Corridors

  • Reception spaces and elevator lobbies will welcome patients and visitors with expansive views of nature design elements.
  • Way finding is assisted by graphic applications throughout the facility. Visitors will be instructed to follow color paths to their destination. These destination points along the path will also be color-coded.
  • Terrazzo flooring will be placed throughout the main floor of the building.
  • The first floor has acoustic ceilings to decrease ambient noise.


The Mock Rooms
In a facility near its downtown campus, the hospital has been testing everything from color palettes and furniture design, to patient room layout and Emergency Department (ED) trauma suite functionality in new hospital mock rooms. The mock space has been a cost-saving measure. Hundreds of staff including nurses and doctors and more importantly, patient families, toured the rooms and gave their feedback. Based on their valuable input, numerous changes were made and incorporated in the mock rooms, saving the hospital time and money it would have taken to make those adjustments in the new hospital.

For example, a mock trauma was staged in the ED trauma suite to test the functionality of the entire emergency team making sure equipment placement and room layout was optimized. Also, patients and families involved in the hospital’s teen and parent advisory councils were very vocal about details, such as the amount of storage and the bathtub design in the private patient rooms.

Examples of key learnings from the mock rooms include:
From parents/patients

  • More storage space for personal items in patient rooms
  • Changes to the bathtubs in patient rooms
  • Changes to the sleeper/sofa and glider/recliner in patient rooms

From staff

  • Reconfiguration of placement of gases on head walls
  • Built-in shelving in empty spaces of the patient room bathroom for storage of patient care items like the urinal
  • Redesign of nurse station
  • Wall-mounted storage bins in medication rooms

The current mock rooms are slated to be taken down in May 2011 to make room for build-out and parking of the Research III building, which is currently under construction. In early 2011, eight rooms will be constructed in the new main hospital. This will support furniture and clinical fit-up, confirmation of configurations, technology and applications, and allow for early staff orientation and preparation. These eight mock rooms in the new main hospital will include a typical acute care inpatient room, critical care room, ED exam room, medication room, family lounge/consultation room, multi-disciplinary work station (also known as a nurse station), standard utility room and telecommunications server room.

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at