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
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
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.