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Design Tailored to Address the Unique Needs of Seniors

Summit Healthcare Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit

Show Low, AZ

The Geriatric Behavioral Health Unit at Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center in Show Low, Arizona provides much needed behavioral health services within the White Mountain region. The 13,971 square foot renovation project located on the fifth floor of the hospital was designed, permitted, constructed and opened for business in a compressed 12-month schedule. This rural healthcare provider, in an effort to secure the lost revenue stream of transporting behavioral health patients out of the area to larger, urban providers, leveraged their recently vacated floor to create twelve private behavioral health patient rooms with future conversion possibilities to expand to sixteen total rooms.

The design addressed various factors, including ceiling heights, sightlines, patient visibility, ligature points, and furniture. The objective was to craft a cozy, residential-style setting for both patients and staff. Incorporating elements like adaptable full-spectrum lighting, expansive landscape photography murals, and nature-inspired finishes and furniture, the design aimed to evoke a connected ambiance. Achieving biophilic design involved geographically significant landscape murals, wood-look sheet vinyl flooring, wainscot wood panels, and exterior mountain-view windows. The design also prioritized high-contrast materials to enhance depth perception, minimizing disorientation and falls. Dark wood handrails and corner guards, contrasting with light paint, were employed to help visually impaired patients identify surfaces.

Memorable Goals
The nature of behavioral health care itself brings certain obvious design and operational priorities to the forefront. That being said, the design team concentrated on five main areas of focus:

• Safety and Risk Assessment Prioritization
• Creation of a Residential Environment within a Hospital Setting
• The Experiential Engagement of Patients, Staff and Visitors
• Consideration of Material Choice for Cleanability and Durability
• High Performance Design and Operations within Behavioral Health

“(Over)hearing people take ownership of the space and the pride that goes with that makes me really proud of the job we’ve done — putting the patient first has a domino effect on a facility like this.”
– Jennifer Wilcynski, Interior Designer