Traumatic brain injury center for rehabilitation : a sustainable and healthy model for therapy and recovery, a patient's perspective

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Hamm, Jonathan D.
Dotson, Olon F.
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Thesis (B. Arch.)
College of Architecture and Planning
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While recovering from a closed traumatic brain injury I observed that the locations and designs of the facilities were depressing. Not only was the injury an obstacle to the recover process but so were the treatment facilities. The reasons for this included distance of travel from one therapy to the next and lack of communication between therapists and the physiatrist. The overall nature of the facilities was dark and depressing. These hardships were definitely a detriment to mc recovery. Another detriment to the successful recovery of a person with a closed head trauma is slack time. The more a person is worked with early on, the better the chance of maximum benefit.In my thesis topic I investigated the design and formation of a Traumatic Brain Injury Re-habilitation Facility. The intent of the unit would be to prepare teens through adults to be reintegrated into the community after the initial recovery period. The initial recovery period was defined as that period of time in which the patient is in need of intense medical care. The design of the structure followed the sustainable building paradigm. The design of the project must also enhance the immediate environment of those persons that will be affected by the structure. I believe that sustainable architecture can have a dramatic and positive impact on the emotional and physical well being of persons whom are in need of medical rehabilitation. The reason I believe this to be true is that it has already been proven that employees working in a LEED certified building are more productive. Therefore, I designed a facility that uses the strategies of sustainability to enhance a patient's recovery.I researched rehab and senior living facilities to observe the present conditions. These conditions became my baseline studies. From these studies I developed a new paradigm for rehabilitation facilities. The design includes the following spaces: Therapy, Neuropsychiatrist, Physiatrist, Inpatient Rooms, Outpatient Services, Visitation Space, Community Space, Care Giver Preparation Space, Counseling Room, Vocational Training Liaison, Legal Assistance, Temporary Child Care Services, and a small variety of retail spaces.There are areas that could be developed much further. The first and most obvious is the sun shading system for the east, west, and south sides of the building. Secondly, the nurses' station could he developed to a level that would increase nurse to patient contact. Sustainability could be pushed to a much higher level. If I or anyone else was to continue working on this design I would suggest starting with sustainability.