Lucile Salter Packard is said to have always believed in the power of nature to heal. The late Silicon Valley philanthropist and namesake of Stanford's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital would likely delight in the new hospital scheduled to open in December, which is filled with wildlife art, more than 3.5 acres of gardens and green spaces, California ecosystem-themed floors and many sustainable and cutting-edge technological features.
Shimmering green glass leaves embedded in the floor will guide visitors along a redwood-forest-themed first floor, where kids will find a sculpture of a large mama black bear, her arms spread wide to invite children to sit on her lap.
Packard is still present: On an illuminated etched-glass memorial wall, images of her as a young woman and a more senior visionary philanthropist welcome visitors. The hospital she and her husband, David Packard, helped create through a $40 million donation in 1986 has grown to handle 13,472 admissions, including 3,519 inpatient surgeries and 4,417 outpatient surgeries in fiscal year 2016, said Samantha Dorman, the hospital's director of media and public relations.
The hospital has become world-renowned for its innovative surgeries, which have included delicate separations of conjoined twins, heart surgeries and organ transplants. Now the older hospital, which will be designated the "West" building, will be joined by enclosed bridges on each floor to the new building, to be known as the "Main" hospital, which is costing more than $1.1 billion to construct and will more than double the current hospital's 323,000 square feet.
The new hospital is adding 521,000 square feet and hundreds of new jobs. The additional 149 beds will bring the hospital's total to 361, according to administrators.
The new Packard Hospital is part of the multibillion-dollar Stanford University Medical Center Renewal Project, which includes a new 824,000-square-foot adult-patient hospital, Stanford Health Care, which is slated to open in 2018, and overhauls of the Stanford University School of Medicine and Hoover Medical Campus. Stanford is under a state-mandated deadline to comply with seismic-safety standards adopted under Senate Bill 1953 after the devastating 2004 Northridge earthquake.
The original Packard Hospital, which was completed in 1991, is compliant with current state seismic standards, but administrators planned in 2007 to increase the number of patients the hospital can serve and improve care by upgrading its facilities. Many of the older hospital's rooms are double occupancy, which can become crowded with equipment; the new hospital's single-patient rooms will help prevent the spread of diseases, decrease medical errors and result in less stress for patients, hospital administrators have said.
The new Packard will house a cancer center, acute-care and intensive-care units and a surgical treatment center, said Christine Wipert, hospital communications manager. Six new surgical suites will bring the total to 13, making Packard the largest in terms of children's hospital operating rooms in northern California, according to administrators.
But Packard will not have any dedicated beds for inpatient psychiatric services, a significant need in the Bay Area, according to health care professionals and parents of teens in need of inpatient care. The reasons are many, starting with the high demand for medical and surgery beds at Packard, Dorman said in an email.
In addition, Packard administrators believe the establishment of an inpatient facility would be too complex for any one facility. They favor a collaborative approach with El Camino Hospital and Kaiser Permanente hospitals, Dorman said.
In December, the hospital began providing adolescent psychiatrists to staff eight out of 17 inpatient beds at the adolescent inpatient psychiatric unit at Mills-Peninsula Hospital in San Mateo. Patients arriving at Stanford Emergency Department who require psychiatric hospitalization have priority for placement in those beds, Dorman said.
With six months left until the scheduled opening, a large semi-circular park with amphitheater seating near the building entrance has yet to be completed. On a recent morning, fresh paint on the acute-care and intensive-care floors mingled with plastic drop cloths, craft paper that protected the intricate floor tilework, and holes awaiting ceiling ducts and electrical outlets to be installed.
Construction workers labored to complete the labyrinth of scrub, diagnostic and operating rooms, some with metal beams still exposed and drywall unpainted. Bright natural light streamed down the hallways.
"We had feedback from the doctors to put in the skylights," Wipert said.
The new hospital, which broke ground in 2012, will include innovative technologies to help with surgeries and diagnostics. Two of the operating rooms will have on-site, advanced MRI imaging machines.
In the neuro-hybrid suite, the surgical team removing a cancerous tumor "will be able to view rapidly updated images during delicate surgeries and re-image a patient immediately after a procedure to ensure that the operation was successful," Dorman said.
The second high-tech operating room, a cardiac-hybrid suite, similarly will allow on-site imaging for cardiac procedures and cardiothoracic surgeries.
"The use of the hybrid rooms significantly reduces the anesthesia risk, the length of stay and overall cost compared to the multiple-stage procedures completed in the past," Dorman said.
Hospital administrators also tout the new building's environmentally sustainable design, which orients the structure toward the sun's movement to allow maximum natural light to enter through skylights. A wind turbine and a water-collection system also make the building environmentally friendly. The collected water will completely irrigate the landscape without the need for additional water from the Hetch Hetchy water system, saving 800,000 gallons annually, hospital administrators said.
The hospital may boast many advanced technologies and improvements, but it is nature that patients and families will likely notice first.
With the idea of creating habitats for healing, the hospital design team has given each of the hospital's six stories and two levels of underground parking a different California ecosystem theme: Deep Ocean; Shallow Water; Rocky Shore; Redwood Forest; Valley; Desert; Foothills and Mountain.
The main elevator is designed as a gigantic redwood tree trunk; its exterior is made from reclaimed redwood salvaged from Moffett Field hangar in Mountain View. There are other details on the first floor: porcelain-tile mosaics in the floor mimic waves; an aquamarine ocean-wave motif in glass wraps around the reception desk. There are also cast-bronze sculptures of sea animals by artists James Bottoms and Pokey Park; aluminum seabirds by David Landis flutter overhead.
Rather than moving through sterile hallways, families and patients can interact with murals depicting the lives of local threatened and endangered species and the habitats in which they live: the salt marsh harvest mouse, burrowing owl, California red-legged frog and others.
Sculptures on each floor help patients and families find their way around unfamiliar spaces: The second floor, in orange, has tiger salamander and kit fox motifs; the third floor focuses on desert themes with California valley quail, bighorn sheep and saguaro cactus.
The outside is just as interactive: Dunlevie Garden, located between the existing and new hospitals, is a space for exploration. Children will be able to climb on the giant wolf head or check out a gopher's habitat by crawling through its "burrow." Kids can hide in a puma's-den sculpture and scramble in a redwood tree house.
At a "three cubs" photo station, children will be able to get their picture taken between two small bears. There's a whimsical giant yellow banana slug and sculptures of desert dinosaurs.
And for children who can't escape to the outdoors, the garden will be viewable from hospital rooms. Each room also has a planter box outside the window to encourage healing, Wipert said.
To serve not just the young patients but their families, there are accommodations inside the patient rooms, Wipert said.
A parent and guest nook next to the window creates a semi-private space. Parents will have their own television and internet access so they can work, browse the Web, read emails or even sleep. Nearly all new rooms will have ports for laptops, gaming drives, iPads and televisions.
The uncomfortable visitors' recliner chair found in most hospitals is replaced by a loveseat that converts into a bed for two, Wipert said. And each room will also have its own safe for storing valuables.
Three separate areas — child, toddler and teen — offer play spaces. Parents and staff also have separate outside decks on each floor where they can take respite, Wipert said. A spiritual sanctuary will offer a meditation garden where visitors can also go to find solace, she said.
The hospital also will feature a resource center for parents and a recreation room with a story corner.
In a broadcast studio, kids will be able to create, record and edit their own videos, which can be broadcast in patients' rooms through the hospital's entertainment system. But perhaps the most fun and socially interactive feature will be a floor-to-ceiling, roughly 12-foot-wide digital interactive wall in the recreation room. Amid digitally created northern California cliffs or deep sea environments, children will be able to see themselves moving around the scene, frolicking on cliff tops, splashing in waves or writing their names in the sand.
The interactive programming, created by the company OUVA, can be used as physical, occupational and emotional therapy as well: Patients could, for example, perform tasks like catching a ball. Wipert said there is discussion about having physical therapy incorporated with the interactive wall.
That most common of family-gathering activities — meal time — will be aided by the hospital's Harvest Cafe. The well-lit cafeteria with sunshine yellow and leaf-green tile accents will serve sustainable organic food at different stations, from international to salads, a bakery and "grab and go."
Each cheerful seating area has faux-redwood laminate booths set against mural backdrops of scenes from Stanford University's history, including life on Leland Stanford's farm.
There's one special feature that Wipert said is already causing a gustatory buzz: "The employees are excited by the pizza oven," she said.
A familiar look?
The new Lucile Packard Children's Hospital's exterior may look familiar to Stanford University visitors. That's because the Lutetian limestone used is also on 12 buildings on the Stanford campus, including the Science and Engineering Quad and Lokey Stem Cell Building.
The more than 40 million year old limestone comes from the Saint Maximin Quarry about 30 miles north of Paris, which was bought by Leland Stanford, according to a hospital spokesperson. Approximately 546,000 pounds of the sedimentary rock was used in the construction of the new children's hospital and traveled nearly 5,600 miles by boat and truck to arrive at its new home.
The numbers behind the new Lucile Packard Hospital
• $1.1 billion, the cost of building the new hospital
• 800,000 gallons of water to be saved annually
• 546,000 pounds of limestone used
• 521,000 square feet of building space
• 420 parking spaces in new underground garage
• 149 new beds (total 361 between the two wings)
• 100 cast-aluminum bird sculptures
• 60 percent less thermal-energy consumption than comparable hospitals
• 38 percent less water used than comparable hospitals
• 22 parking spaces for electric vehicles
• 6 new surgical suites (total 13)
• 4 new diagnostic units, including two operating suites with in-room imaging
• 3.5 acres of gardens and green space
CORRECTION: a previous version of this story stated that the OUVA program will measure how a patient is moving or track improved agility and range of motion. There is discussion about having physical therapy incorporated with the interactive wall, but there are no plans at this time to digitally track movement and send the information back to their doctors and therapists.