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Becky Egan
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Healthcare Looks to Provide Great Guest Experience Through Design

Hospitality environments continue to influence trends in architectural and interior design projects within the healthcare market. What was once designed with a sterile, institutional feel now includes visual elements to increase patient satisfaction and enhance the overall patient, visitor and staff experience. The challenge is no longer just to design a space where patients are treated, but to provide environments where patients can heal and recover with their family members by their side, and where staff can provide the optimum care-giver experience.

We recently had the opportunity to tackle one such project, the 3rd and 4th floors at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital – Lake Saint Louis, in Lake Saint Louis Missouri. According to its website, “the Hospital was established in Lake Saint Louis in 1986 to meet the expanding health care needs of western St. Charles County. This 122-bed community hospital is the leading provider of emergency and obstetric services in St. Charles, Warren and Lincoln Counties.” Having undergone various renovations over the years, the addition of three floors on top of the existing hospital provided SSM Health with an opportunity to create a new patient floor model designed to incorporate industry best practices and leverage existing assets, including a lake located behind the hospital property.


Using the lake as inspiration in our design, our team capitalized on the hospital’s unique location and proximity to the beautiful scenery as it presented an opportunity to create a calming and peaceful environment. Large floor-to-ceiling windows were incorporated to allow natural daylight and soothing views of the lake, an amenity that is unique compared to most hospital settings. Patients, visitors and staff alike experience these views from patient rooms, family waiting areas and hallways, creating a more enjoyable environment in which people can recover, visit and work. A separate family lounge with views to the lake enhances the patient family experience and provides a place of respite.


Individual nurse’s stations are strategically located outside each patient room with windows into the patient rooms allowing visibility from the nurse’s chair to the patient bed and beyond to the lake. This layout provides increased opportunities for patient and nurse interaction, fewer disruptions and more rest for the patient, and a better work environment for the nurses who will now have direct views to the outside world.


A serene color pallet was selected to accentuate the natural beauty of the outdoors. In the patient rooms, natural maple wood tones coupled with blue hues have a subtle effect blending with the views of the outdoors. The hospitality design aesthetic includes translucent graphic illustrations of leaves covering glass sliding doors that lead to the private bathrooms featuring linen-inspired porcelain tile and glass accent tile which is laid vertically from the floor to the ceiling. Artwork was carefully selected to enhance the rooms with a sophisticated and softening effect. Collaboration areas at the core of the building were provided to support and encourage staff interaction. These areas are screened with translucent glass panels featuring artistic designs representing clouds. These glass panels allow light to pass thru and provide privacy where needed; they also provide a space where key messaging such as the organization’s mission and values can be expressed to passers-by.


Our team thoroughly enjoyed working on this unique healthcare project. Knowing we are making a positive difference in people’s lives and hearing the enthusiasm from patients, visitors and employees is genuinely satisfying. Moving forward, Lawrence Group will be working with researchers from the University of Kansas to evaluate data and measure the efficiency, comfort and wellness of these spaces. The new 3rd and 4th floors at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital – Lake Saint Louis position SSM Health as a regional leader in patient satisfaction and experience, and we are proud to partner with them on this exciting project!

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