Families Key In The Recovery Process At HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital

Posted by on Jun 4, 2021 in Featured Artists and Inspirations
Families Key In The Recovery Process At HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital

The new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) St. John’s Children’s Hospital (Springfield, Ill.) will more than double the space of the current 56-bed facility. This new addition is so important because HSHS is the only Level III NICU in the region.

A level 3 NICU is a neonatal intensive care unit that is capable of caring for very small or very sick newborn babies. The HSHS facility draws patients from 39 counties in central Illinois. With families traveling so far, they often have to make decisions about caring for other children and attending obs at home versus spending time with their newborn in need.

Family Centered Design

We often discuss evidence-based design (EBD) principles that result in patient-centered care. In this case, HSHS uses EBD principles to create a family-centered design. It is proven that family is envelope into a babies’ recovery. Family involvement means better outcomes, speedier recovery periods, reduced length of hospital stay, and a lower rate of readmission. With that evidence in mind, the redesign project sought to prioritize family-centered care.

HSHS Project Features

  • Private rooms that support the ability for families to stay overnight.
  • A hybrid nursing model with three branded care team neighborhoods.
  • Milk lab where milk technicians can fortify breastmilk or formula with additional nutrients customized to each patient.
  • For the first time, HSHS St. John’s will offer couplet care, which brings mom and NICU baby into the same room while mom remains an inpatient in postpartum recovery.

Note: The premise of the couplet concept is that the parent-child bond is accelerated by facilitating immediate skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding initiation, which ultimately results in better outcomes for baby.

HSHS Design Features

  • Aesthetically, care was taken to make sure the design appealed to the whole family.
  • Thoughtful attention was given to light-filled care spaces and corridors.
  • Clean and bright interior.
  • Simple shapes, pops of bold color, and custom botanical graphics were used as accents and wayfinding tools.

What’s To Come

The future phase underway now will include family amenities including lounge, kitchen, and reservable overnight sleeping suites.

Project Details

Facility name: HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital

Location: Springfield, Ill.

Completion date: Phase 1, March 2021; phase 2, October 2021

Owner: Hospital Sisters Health System

Total building area: 36,600 sq. ft. (renovation)

Total construction cost: $11 million

Cost/sq. ft.: $300/sq. ft.

Architecture firm: Kahler Slater

Interior design: Kahler Slater

General contractor: O’Shea Builders

Engineering: Korda/Nemeth Engineering

Builder: O’Shea Builders

Marie Wikoff is the creator of Wikoff Design Studio based out of Reno, Nevada. Her expertise in healthcare design has helped develop modern design for healthcare organizations locally, regionally and internationally. Her credentials include Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC), American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designer (CHID), the National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) and LEED AP. Contact Marie Wikoff


Walker, Tracy. “Projects.” HCD Magazine PHOTO TOUR HSHS St Johns Childrens Hospital Comments, May 2021, healthcaredesignmagazine.com/projects/photo-tour-hshs-st-johns-childrens-hospital/.

Leave a Reply