St. Elizabeth Hospital expansion creates healing environment
03 / 13 / 2006
Maria Nelson, Media Relations
Affinity Health System
(920) 554-0686 (pager)
APPLETON, Wis. – Walking into the new front entrance at
To some, it may seem a bit extravagant. In reality, the amenities found in the new atrium lobby are part of Affinity Health System’s initiative to make the patient experience less traumatic while remaining good stewards of the earth.
“With this new design, we are attempting to change the patient experience,” says Gary Kusnierz, director of Facilities for Affinity Health System. “With this addition, we have made a serious commitment to ensure the hospital environment is healthy for patients, visitors, staff and the earth.”
The 50,000-square-foot addition that opened to the public March 13 will be the first hospital in Wisconsin to incorporate environmentally friendly sustainable concepts followed by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) U.S. Green Building Council Rating System.
Sustainable design seeks to reduce negative impact on the environment while promoting the health and comfort of building occupants. According to the 2004 Center for Health Design report, when patients view nature, “stressful or negative emotions such as fear or anger diminish while levels of pleasant feelings increase.”
LEED design follows these six criteria:
- Sustained site development — rain water is collected on site and drained to an outdoor rain garden
- Water efficiency and savings
- Energy efficiency and savings
- Conservation of materials and selection — a vast majority of building materials were purchased within a 500 mile radius of Appleton; recycled building materials were incorporated into the construction as much as possible; and all construction waste is being recycled
- Indoor environmental quality—low-emitting building materials are being used
- Innovation in design.
Affinity is teaming up with Heid Music and Yamaha, the maker of the new piano housed in the atrium, to study the effects of music and creating a healing environment in health care.
Green plants and gardens help to create a calming, relaxing environment, and the expansion makes great use of gardens. In addition to the atrium garden in the new lobby, there is an indoor garden located on the back wall of the new heart and lung (cardiopulmonary) rehabilitation gym. Sky lights deliver natural light to help this garden thrive. The effect, Kusnierz says, is to let the natural scenery promote healing.
Outside the main entrance is a rain garden containing evergreens, flowering plants, trees and ornamental grasses native to the area. This garden also plays an important role, Kusnierz says. “This area will receive all the storm water from the adjacent areas and filter it naturally before going into the city’s storm sewers. This is an environmentally-friendly way to prevent unnecessary pollution of streams in the watershed,” Kusnierz says.
Later this spring, a healing garden will be planted that will include a circular, paved path, park benches and a statue of St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
Other patient and visitor amenities in the new
- Valet parking, available from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
- A Resource Center containing books, periodicals, audiovisual materials and online resources for patients, families and the general public. The center contains comprehensive information on health, wellness and medical topics. Free photocopying, scanning and Internet access are available. The Resource Center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- An Internet Café open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The café serves Starbucks brand coffees, cappuccino, espresso, lattes and tees, as well as muffins, yogurt, soup and sandwiches.
- An expanded St. Elizabeth Hospital Gift Shop, open seven days a week. Proceeds from the gift shop go to benefit hospital patient services.
- The Café Courtyard is an open air courtyard where visitors and staff can relax and unwind.
For the Editor:
Affinity Health System, a faith-based regional health care network, is the Fox Valley’s second-largest employer, according to the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry. For the fourth consecutive year, Affinity has been named one of the nation’s top 64 health systems based on clinical performance according to Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care. For ten consecutive years, Affinity Health System has been named to the SDI (formerly Verispan) Integrated Health Network Top 100, an annual assessment of the 100 most highly integrated health care networks in the nation. Both St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton and Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh rank among the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide in terms of quality and efficiency, as determined by the 2007 Premier | CareScience Select practice National Quality Award. Members of Affinity include Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Health Foundation, Oshkosh; St. Elizabeth Hospital and the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Appleton; Affinity Medical Group, a regional network of 25 family practice and specialty clinics – 22 of which are recognized as NCQA Level III medical homes, the highest level of recognition – in 14 communities; Calumet Medical Center, Chilton; and Affinity Occupational Health.