Reaching the pinnacle of pediatric healthcare
The Legacy Tower at Texas Children’s Hospital is not a place any family chooses to visit. The building is home to the hospital’s critical care, surgery and heart units, serving some of the most critically ill pediatric patients. Children and families are seeking the best possible care and are in some cases up against immeasurable odds. Yet the space is warm and inviting for children and their families — it uses bright colors, inventive wayfinding and comforting artwork to make this clinical space less intimidating for all.
Our work on the tower began more than a decade ago when we designed the initial six-story podium building. Eventually we partnered with the hospital to design a 19-story vertical expansion atop the podium — making the 25-story tower the tallest children’s hospital in the world and a bold symbol of the hospital’s mission to be a leader in creating a healthier future for children not only in Texas, but nationally and globally.
Recognizing the critical role parents and family play in pediatric healthcare, we engaged a Family Advisory Group at the earliest stages of design. In-room storage wardrobes and sleeping accommodations, laundry facilities on each floor, magnetic marker boards in each room for notes to care staff, and lounges to help families rest and recharge during their child’s treatment were important and successful outcomes from their feedback.
The collaborative design process continued by engaging staff. In addition to creating physical mockups of spaces, we ran simulated scenarios focusing on the ideal state of operations compared to the current state to account for rapidly changing technology and equipment. Post-simulation surveys showed an eight-point increase in provider confidence to respond to pediatric emergencies in the new unit, and a 10-point increase in provider confidence of minimized patient safety risks.
Legacy Tower is the new home of Texas Children’s Heart Center® – ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in pediatric cardiology and heart surgery – with expanded inpatient and outpatient capabilities to serve more children with critical congenital heart conditions. Atop the tower, a new helistop – specially designed to screen the view of the pad – allows the most critically ill children to receive care rapidly.
This cloud-grazing expansion fulfills a crucial step in Texas Children’s Hospital’s strategic plan to bolster critical care services at Texas Medical Center. Specifically, it houses five types of ICU units across seven floors, a high-acuity surgical center as well as the Texas Children’s Heart Center.
Modern yet familiar, sprawling yet intimate, Legacy Tower enables Texas Children’s Hospital to build on its rich history of lifesaving work — realizing the hopes and dreams of so many who come here for that very thing.
What’s on the horizon for pediatric critical care? The ICU and critical care units hold patients dealing with complex medical conditions, often life-threatening. Pediatric critical patients require even more sensitivity and attention as well as consistent communication with family and caregivers. Collaborating with all the groups involved in pediatric care, as was done with Legacy Tower, ensures that children are receiving the best possible care.