on December 14th, 2015 No Comments
The first time Chris Bjornson walked through the infusion area in the new Stanford Neuroscience Health Center, he couldn’t stop smiling. Bjornson, 45, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis seven years ago. He’s happy with how well his doctor, neuro-immunologist Jeffrey Dunn, MD, has worked with him to control the progress of a disease that has gradually eroded Bjornson’s ability to walk.
Getting to his appointments, however, was something else. Many neurological disorders and injuries leave people with less ability to maneuver through crowded hallways, negotiate the changes in texture from one type of floor covering to another or endure going from one place to another to see different specialists. High countertops, narrow bathroom stalls and tight turns at corners become additional obstacles.
Stanford doctors agreed that asking patients to make such a difficult journey for care had to change. They also knew that that change couldn’t be done by renovating the several buildings that now house the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences and the Department of Neurosurgery. Only a from-scratch approach would work.
Last week, Stanford Health Care, in partnership with the Stanford School of Medicine, cut the ribbons to officially open the new Stanford Neuroscience Health Center for outpatient care. It’s a five-story, 92,000-square-foot building on the medical school campus. The exterior is, of course, brightly new and sparkling. It is the interior, however, where the center shows its best.
Hallways, floor coverings, lighting, chairs, bathrooms and the building’s floor-by-floor organization all reflect what the Center’s 12-person Patient Advisory Council told Stanford Health Care would eliminate those physical barriers to care — and, as a consequence, their stress. The infusion center that so impressed Bjornson has no dark corners or tiny treatment rooms. Instead, the area is filled with the light and views from three walls of windows.