With the completion of a new patient tower at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH), the renovation and expansion of the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) was one of the first back fill projects.

Consolidation: Consolidating all the NICU beds to create a center-of-care for NICU patients was the main goal of the project. NCH previously served 114 NICU patients spread out between three wings on the third and fourth floors. Consolidation was made possible by moving the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) to the new tower, opening space for the NICU. The consolidated configuration optimizes staff efficiency and workflow.

Program: The programmatic goals included centralizing respiratory support for NICU, consolidating administrative offices and staff support lockers, lounges, and physician call rooms and workroom. Existing NICU patient rooms were maintained in place, existing PICU patient rooms were converted to NICU rooms and nursing care areas and support optimized to improve flow and access in the consolidated NICU.

Phasing: With the need to work around critical NICU patients, sensitivity to noise, and staff access and services was essential. Phased construction was the answer. The AECOM team worked with NCH to coordinate construction phasing with a separate 5th floor renovation project located directly above the NICU renovations. The phasing allowed for ongoing operations and kept common use rooms and support spaces available for the NICU units.

Interior Design/ Wayfinding: The existing C4 and J4 NICU wings were constructed at different times and didn’t have a visual connection to each other or the new patient tower. The AECOM team mimicked the new tower’s construction finishes, extending the design into the NICU expansion. Now, when they arrive at the NICU, families and visitors are greeted at a central station and directed to one of three nearby color-coded NICU bays.