When leaders at Colorado-based Pathways Hospice sat down to design its first standalone inpatient center, they sought to build a facility that embodied the core values of hospice care — an interdisciplinary approach that includes care for both the patient and the family.
Pathways, and its center, was among the recipients of this year’s Architecture & Design Awards by Hospice News’ sister site Senior Housing News.
The facility, designed to have a home-like feel, first opened in September 2022 with six individual single-patient rooms, which as of last June expanded to 12. This includes two negative pressure rooms for patients with infectious respiratory diseases.
The decor is inspired by the mountainous Colorado landscape and the state’s Western culture, according to Pathways CEO Tim Bowen, who also leads the Care Synergy Network, of which the nonprofit hospice provider is a member.
“It’s an incredibly well designed, well-functioning layout. It’s beautiful in nature, and that’s all great. But the true impact is what happens at the bedside and the care that’s provided,” Bowen told Hospice News. “It is an incredible jewel for the community and incredibly impactful for the families and the patients who have used it. We hear story after story about what an impact it made on the patient and the family.”
The building was designed with the family in mind as well as the patients. The single rooms are large enough to accommodate visitors, and most of the furniture can fold out into a bed so loved ones can spend the night.
It also features a non-denominational chapel and large family room that contains a fireplace and a Steinway baby grand piano that provides music each afternoon. Private meeting areas and cooking space for families are also available.
“The family kitchen has really been a great feature,” Evan Wyatt, president of Pathways, told Hospice News. “I was down here on a Sunday a couple weekends ago, and there was this one family with 31 members cooking breakfast for each other and being there with a mother while she was passing.”
Pathways covered the cost of the $13 million facility through a combination of philanthropic dollars and bank-qualified tax exempt financing. Also prominent are the center’s outdoor spaces, featuring a natural landscape and a walkable labyrinth for quiet moments or meditation, according to Bowen.
The planning and design process was as interdisciplinary as the care provided. Pathways convened a range of stakeholders, including organization leaders, architects, board members, the clinicians who would go on to work in the facility, as well as individuals from the communities they serve, according to Bowen.
“There were a bunch of constituencies that we engaged. Clinicians that were part of Pathways, the home care teams, as well as the facility-based teams,” Bowen said. “We went through a fairly elaborate programming process to determine what was important and what were the ‘must-haves.’”