Mount Sinai was the first medical center in the greater New York area to have a unit dedicated to pediatric cardiac critical care, and for more than 30 years has treated children who are critically ill with heart conditions or are recovering from cardiac surgery. These patients are now being cared for in the new, state-of-the-art Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU).
The project involved demolishing and rebuilding 5,000 square feet in Mount Sinai’s century-old building—on the same floor as another unit that remained operational the whole time. Structural constraints in the old building posed the biggest design challenge, such as restrictive floor-to-floor heights and maintaining enough existing infrastructure to keep the hospital’s operations on the floors above and below the new unit operational.
The staff has described the new PCICU as “a stunning transformation.” While it meets all the technical requirements of a cutting-edge cardiac intensive care unit, the space also provides a soothing and whimsical environment where these young patients and their families can heal.
The renovation created spacious, high-tech private patient rooms, each with a dedicated nursing substation; separate zones for patient, family, and care team; and direct access to a handicapped-accessible patient toilet. The playful design theme takes inspiration from the project’s location along New York City’s Central Park, with evidence-based concepts of biophilic design and circadian lighting. The light-filled patient rooms also include positive distractions and features that help give patients and caregivers a sense of control, which aids in the recovery process.
The design team incorporated feedback from families, staff, and Child Life specialists throughout the process to create a welcoming, comfortable, functional environment for these high-acuity patients and their families.