Dignity Mercy San Juan Medical Center Crisis Stabilization Unit  |  San Juan, CA

Mercy San Juan Medical Center sought to address the growing number of behavioral health patients checking into the facility’s ED, resulting in overcrowding, understaffing, as well as potentially dangerous situations. This project was the design of a new crisis stabilization unit (CSU) in a 3,200 s.f. modular building located outside the campus’ existing emergency department. The CSU will provide a space close to the hospital that offers counseling and psychiatric care without over-stressing the hospital’s ED.

The design intent was to create a therapeutic patient experience. The team's research pointed to several major goals for the design of the facility: home-like environment; access to nature; sense of control; thoughtful lighting; minimized noise; privacy and dignity.

To give a sense of home, the design team incorporated the nearby river in artwork throughout the space, notably a 40-foot wall graphic on the back wall of the common room. The team also used art throughout the facility to provide “visual access to nature,” exemplified by sky panels in the common room. Complimenting this are textured 3Form panels in the waiting room giving the appearance of flowing water. Staff spaces feature photographs of beaches and calming spaces.

A sense of choice, control, and respite are very important for patients in an environment such as this; to address this the team installed a selection of six blue and six gray recliners for patients to relax in the Common Room. Additionally, an outdoor space covered in greenery has benches for patients to sit and enjoy time away from the treatment areas.