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Pasco Tribune

Florida Hospital includes soothing touches

Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 10:28 PM

With its soaring, three-story glass atrium, Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel was designed to make a strong first impression. But it's the little details, both inside and out, that are less about architecture and all about patient comfort.

"Everything here is very intentional," Marketing Director Tracy Clouser said, pointing to the lights in the hallway of the emergency room, which run along the side of the ceiling, instead of in the middle. "That way, if you're a patient on a gurney and you're lying on your back, you don't have lights in your eyes."

The walls are painted soothing shades of cream, sage green and purple. "There are no white walls – we didn't want the building to have an institutional feeling," Clouser said.

Even the Emergency Room waiting room will have a 900-gallon saltwater aquarium to create a soothing atmosphere.

Each of the hospital's 83 rooms has a 42-inch television, computer desk and sleeping accommodations for family members. In the maternity ward on the third floor, the rooms come equipped with a private Jacuzzi bathtub. Nurses can keep an eye on the expectant moms' vital signs with a wireless monitor system that gives patients freedom to get up and move around.

"They can even wear the monitors in the Jacuzzi," Clouser said. "I can't tell you how many people have said touring these suites makes them want to have another baby."

The maternity ward even has a private elevator that leads directly to an operating room dedicated solely to Caesarian sections.

The hospital's outdoor space has received just as much attention, especially the "healing gardens" situated between each of the hospital's wings. The gardens provide a peaceful retreat for patients and visitors, where they can find a shady spot under a weeping willow tree or on the lush, green grass.

"A lot of thought went into the design," Clouser said. "We know being in the hospital can be stressful – not just for the patient but for the family as well. We envision that garden as a place where family members and visitors can go to get some fresh air."

The hospital isn't expected to open to patients until October, but almost all of the landscaping is already in. The butterfly bushes are already in bloom, and the Passion Flower vines are crawling up the posts of a pergola, where they will create a shady refuge over the outdoor café tables.

The spectacular purple flowers are said to represent the Passion of Christ, and they have traditionally been used for medicinal purposes and brewed in teas.

"So many of those design details are meant for healing the body and spirit," Clouser said, noting that the nonprofit hospital is a part of the faith-based Adventist Health System.

The $160 million project also includes a 50,000-square-foot wellness center in the adjacent medical office building. The center, which is scheduled to open in early 2013, features two indoor pools, an indoor walking track and a fitness center with its own "hot yoga" room. There's even a test kitchen for diabetic cooking classes.

lkinsler@tampatrib.com (813)371-1852

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