Once dismissed as an ancient form of healing and rejuvenation, aquatic therapy pools are growing in popularity across America, even for children.
The $48.5 million, five-story Children’s Specialized Hospital includes four above-grade floors and one below-grade designed to meet the needs of young patients and their families. The facility includes an array of kid-approved amenities including a kid-centric therapy natatorium, ergonomically designed based on a combination of elements, which are ultimately inspired by the rehabilitative needs of children.
Aquatic designers Counsilman-Hunsaker and architects HKS, Inc. designed the natatorium with an 800-square-foot, shallow-water, slip-resistant therapy pool, a ceiling track patient lift system, ramp entry, and an underwater bench shelf. In addition to a programmable chemical automation system, the pool water is routinely monitored and treated by UV sterilization to kill bacteria, viruses and mold spores and continuously remove chloramines. Parents can view their child’s therapy session while waiting directly on the pool deck or from a vestibule area that looks into the pool.
Additionally, there are separate changing areas for male and female patients. Each changing area is approximately 100 square feet and offers a large bench. An adjacent shower/bathroom can be accessed from the changing area.
To boost mood and increase energy, the aquatic therapy area features a combination of wellbeing and aesthetic amenities. Since patients typically perform better in environments with daylight, the below-grade pool includes the use of skylights and light wells to provide natural light. Additionally, colorful tiles in brown, beige, purple, blue, green, red and yellow surround the wheelchair-accessible pool.
The 125,000-square-foot rehabilitative hospital also includes a large lobby with a monumental staircase descending to a waiting bistro with indoor/outdoor seating as well as easy access to the adjoining Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital. To bolster children’s vigor, each floor has amenities appropriate for the age group it serves such as playrooms, game rooms, and teen lounges. Additional amenities include a meditation chapel, interactive gallery, educational resources library, therapy areas, large gym, and an outdoor therapy garden.
Since many children stay for extended periods of time, families are provided kitchens, dining areas, and washers/dryers. Patients’ rooms are equipped with 20-inch flat panel TVs, Sony Playstation video game systems, and family sleeping arrangements.
Children’s Specialized Hospital cradles young people and their families going through difficult transitions, just like warm water cradles the mind and body in a relaxing, soothing, and peaceful way.