DCC Design Group has been selected to speak at the 2021 HCD Expo + Conference along with project partners Deanne Sperling, President, and CEO of Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center, and behavioral health experts Bryan Pennington and Erin Sharp Newton from NK Architects. The panel discussion will feature the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s $9 million transformation of their inpatient Eating Disorders Unit in Somerville, New Jersey. When complete, the newly designed, 18,400-square-foot space will expand from 14 to 20 beds and enhance their nationally recognized Eating Disorders Program.

Treating eating disorders is sensitive and requires specialized design to ensure patient well-being. In response to this, the team created several unique spaces: the Rooftop Garden, quiet areas for small group therapy, and separate healing environments for adolescents and adults. The ambitious goal of the Rooftop Garden was to integrate biophilic principles for self-reflection and to teach about good nutrition. The interior finishes were chosen to elicit the calm and comfort experienced when in nature. Highly specialized ambient lighting was designed to help patients get in tune with their natural circadian rhythms, thereby fostering healthy sleep-wake patterns. Focal areas were enhanced with graphics and sleek millwork to envelop the visitors and patients in a soothing and comfortable environment.

In addition to designing an environment to promote healing, the team was challenged to create a space that married beauty and comfort with safety and durability. FGI requirements, patient safety, anti-ligature, and self-harm prevention methods were reviewed and applied.

The partners brought together a wealth of knowledge from their various disciplines, an incredible synergy, and the drive to do something different. The outcome exceeded all expectations.

The presentation, “Integrating Vision and Research: The Design of a State-Of-The-Art Eating Disorders Unit,” will be discussed at the conference on Sunday, October 24, at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

This is the second time that DCC Design Group has been invited to speak at the Healthcare Design Expo + Conference. In 2019, they discussed the groundbreaking Pediatric Sensory Room at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s Emergency Department expansion and renovation.

Axonometric drawing courtesy of NK Architects.