The Denver Health ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders is a nationally known program, now an Anthem National Center of Excellence, and one of the few medical in-patient eating disorder treatment programs in the country. The program provides extensive support and life-saving medical stabilization for patients suffering from severe eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Denver Health retained RTA to assist with moving the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders from Pavilion A to Pavilion M on the Denver Health campus and expanding its patient capacity. Adult patient capacity was increased from ten beds to 30, and future expansion will accommodate increased adolescent patient capacity.
To complete the two-phase expansion, RTA met with Denver Health staff, doctors, nurses, as well as staff from Kaiser Permanente. In addition, a Denver Health dietary chef was consulted so that the kitchen expansion could accommodate increased menu choices for patients. Making food as appetizing as possible is crucial for the recovery of these patients.
The ACUTE Center features state-of-the-art technology and support spaces to facilitate seamless patient interaction with their multidisciplinary staff and family. The unit provides spaces for physical and occupational therapy, visitor lounges, multipurpose rooms, and a Zen Room. Office spaces allow for convenient patient access to social workers and psychologists.
Each patient room is med/surg level (due to the severe initial acuity of most patients) and are daylit with views to the downtown Denver skyline and mountain backdrop. In addition, because patient stays can be from two to four weeks in duration, rooms are designed to feel personalized with artwork and a high level of finishes and nature-inspired artwork. Accommodations also include comfortable seating, a table for puzzles and journaling, and lots of storage for luggage within footwall cabinetry.
The design team expanded beyond Denver Health design standards, introducing additional natural colors to create an inviting atmosphere based on the Center for Eating Disorders branding. There are ceiling and floor treatments that help break up long hallways, extended flooring outside patient rooms to encourage patients to leave their rooms, nature-inspired finishes at the nurse’s stations, and quiet alcoves for contemplation.