A look inside 2018’s Specialty Hospital of the Year

A look inside 2018’s Specialty Hospital of the Year

Veterinary architect Heather Lewis points out what makes this specialty hospital so, well, special.
Mar 01, 2018

It takes a fair amount of good qualities to make a Specialty Hospital of the Year winner, and Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, has just that. Veterinary architect Heather Lewis, AIA, NCARB, of Animal Arts in Boulder, Colorado, couldn’t agree more. We sat down with her to see what she found especially special about this specialty hospital. Here’s what she pointed out.

All photos courtesy of Tim Murphy, Foto Imagery

Let’s take it from the top—or, rather, outside. Lewis notes the glass surrounding the hospital and how much safer it makes a hospital. With glass, she says, you can see what’s coming. That’s a good thing—especially at night when there aren’t many people around.

Lewis is also impressed with the human-healthcare-inspired aspects of this hospital—it looks and functions like a human hospital, which is both efficient and professional.

According to Lewis, these cashier stations and the receptionist desk have many desirable qualities. For one, Wheat Ridge has paid attention to the small details with aspects like leash hooks. The hooks allow pet owners to use both hands without worrying about their dog bolting or tangling them up. It’s a small bit of efficiency that goes a long way, Lewis says.

Besides the leash hooks, there are other aspects that Lewis points out as wins. There is privacy for each person checking in and out, as well as a good use of space.

Editor's note: This photo is staged and does not reflect the practices done at Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital.

In the surgery suites, Lewis makes note of the lighting they provide along with the mountain scenery. Natural light brightens moods and creates a nice environment with ample brightness that makes it easy to see, Lewis says.

A little tip from Lewis to hopeful hospital builders: Windows facing North provide the best surgical lighting. That way, you can avoid glare or dimness when it’s crucial.

When pet owners enter in Wheat Ridge’s long-term waiting area, they can sit down, plug in and relax while their pet is being taken care of. Lewis says that this is especially nice for emergency and specialty hospitals, when the wait could be a while.

Not only is this helpful, but it’s a peaceful reminder that their veterinary hospital cares about them and how they feel.

Editor's note: We did some redesigning ourselves …

Out with the old, in with the new. It’s a mantra we take to heart. That’s why we’ve decided to change our look. The Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Conference is now the HospitalDesign360 conference

We can’t wait to show you what we’ve got planned. Want to know more? Check out fetchdvm360.com/HD for more. Registration will open February 19. This year’s HospitalDesign360 will be held just before Fetch dvm360 conference, Aug. 15-17, 2018, in Kansas City.