The Chicago Institute for Fetal Health

The Chicago Institute for Fetal Health

The Chicago Institute for Fetal Health

Clinical “Nesting”: A New Kind of Fetal Health Center

Pregnancy can be an amazing experience; it can also be filled with frightening uncertainties. The Chicago Institute for Fetal Health is a state-of the-art fetal center offering pre-birth counseling, corrective fetal intervention and in utero repair. Located in downtown Chicago, this 6,800-square-foot outpatient clinic resides on the fifth floor of a busy high-rise children’s hospital in close proximity to imaging and surgery services and a pedestrian bridge to the adjacent women’s hospital. Strategic drivers for this unique project included:

  • Deliver a design sensitive to the emotional complexity of women with high-risk pregnancies.
  • Choreograph an impactful, brand-forward experience for women receiving care in a space nestled within a pediatric hospital.
  • Optimize programmatic adjacencies to support complex care coordination including access to key spaces for multiple sub-specialties without interfering with the deliberately quiet, private patient experience.
  • Minimize inconveniences related to renovating within an urban, high-rise hospital.

Private, Comfortable and Quiet: A Personal Patient Experience

With few precedents, the team delivered an experience-driven program challenging preconceived notions of healthcare design. Terminology such as “waiting,” “exam” and “nurse station” were abandoned in favor of human-centered spaces dedicated to improving wellness.

Upon arrival, patients are escorted to a private nesting room, a refuge for their day of consult and care featuring a private bathroom and hotel-like amenities. In lieu of noisy, cluttered nurse stations, a discrete, in-room nurse-call system offers safety to patients and staff. A sense of community is found within the family space, offering city views, nourishment and positive distraction. Natural light and views to parks create visual connectivity to nature and the world beyond.

Biomorphic curves embrace the clinical core, shielding care spaces from the main entry and offering the highest level of coordinated care within a private setting. The most frequently used testing and procedure rooms were positioned with on-stage and off-stage connections to separate clinical activity from the tranquil nesting space. Back-of-house connections are used to circulate to other imaging modalities that may be required. The ultrasound and echocardiogram rooms are oversized to allow for comfortable guest seating. Teleconference consultation rooms are prominently located within the suite connecting private patient space to staff workspace, showcasing the highly coordinated care team. These state-of-the-art consult spaces allow patients, their families and their primary care team to connect with the multi-disciplinary fetal health team.

Providing a private, calm and serene care experience was the foundation of all planning and operational considerations. The challenge of developing an impactful experience for women facing compromised pregnancies was met with a design offering dignity and hope, empowering families with options for positive outcomes within a premier wellness setting.

The Chicago Institute for Fetal Health
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

Chicago, IL
United States

6,800 sf (632 m²)