Cambridge Health Alliance
Adult Psychiatric Care Units

Behavioral Health

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s demand for inpatient beds led to multiple projects across the campuses of Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA). Following a successful 69 bed renovation project for Children and Adolescents on their Somerville campus, CHA engaged the Mental Health Design Specialists at Lavallee Brensinger team to study and generate thoughtful design solutions for the 7th floor of their Cambridge Hospital.

The study resulted in a new 9 bed adult program, that offers private rooms and much needed program space. With just 10 months for design and construction, a design / build approach was taken. Columbia Construction Company was brought on board as the construction manager along with MEP sub-contractors who worked collaboratively to deliver the project on schedule.

3-D modeling and virtual walk-throughs were used by the design team to ensure staff needs were met. These tools allowed staff to visualize the design prior to construction, leading to a built environment that supports patient treatment programs while also offering a safe and secure environment. The back of house was reorganized with a private staff entrance, a breakroom filled with natural light, reorganized Team Room with integrated conferencing tools, and a documentation area for focused work.

To provide a calming and comforting environment to patients, a theme of beach and water was chosen by the clinical staff. Upon entering the transformed unit, a floor to ceiling beach theme greets all, with murals, colors and textures incorporated throughout. The core of the unit centers around the newly opened multipurpose room that lets natural light pour in. The Nurse’s Station that had been small and inaccessible to patients, is now an open interactive station that is pulled out into the corridor allowing for clear visibility of the unit.