Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center
With advances in battlefield medicine and armor, many more of our seriously wounded soldiers are now surviving, but are returning with multiple traumatic injuries, or polytraumas, requiring long-term rehabilitation. A growing population of veterans of previous wars also have age-related disabilities and impairments, often as a result of old injuries.
The new U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Palo Alto (VAPA) Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center is one of only five polytrauma centers in the country designed to serve this special patient cohort. At 174,000 square feet, it is the largest in the VA system and the only VA rehabilitation center in the country to accommodate polytrauma and blind rehabilitation under one roof. This new interdisciplinary approach to patient care gives veterans access to a wide range of services, from physical and occupational therapy, to living skills training for the vision-impaired.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Palo Alto, California
Architecture, Campus Planning, Design Thinking, Energy & Environmental Modeling, Government Health, Health, Interiors, LEED, Lighting Design, Programming, Strategic & Master Plans, Sustainable Design
American Institute of Architects - Academy of Architecture for Health (AHA), 2019
Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards, Spaces, Places and Cities, Honorable Mention, 2018
Wayfinding is a critical issue in healthcare, and even more so for visually and physically impaired patients. Designers studied what it means to navigate the building when one or more senses are impaired. Pavement and flooring tile color and texture provide navigation, and textured surfaces reinforce landmarks. A carefully designed transition from artificial to natural lighting help patients with photo-sensitivity. Patient rooms have an abundance of natural light and non-institutional materials, and feature an unobtrusive lift to give patients more mobility and safety.
The Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center embraces a modern healthcare concept with a space that truly respects its visitors. It is a model for reinforcing equity by design in the built environment that provides comforting opportunities for patients to heal during their rehabilitation journey.