As home to an international leader in heart care, the Aurora St. Luke’s replacement heart hospital needed a design to fulfill its reputation. The client’s challenge was to create a world-class heart care experience for patients, families, physicians and staff. Kahler Slater addressed these objectives by focusing on creating a seamless and efficient patient and provider experience. By centralizing and aligning all cardiac services and integrating the most advanced technologies, a very safe patient environment and highly efficient physician and staff flow is achieved.
Built atop an existing parking structure, the heart center tower consists of 12 floors with 270 beds, creating a commanding presence on the Milwaukee skyline and affording generous views of Lake Michigan. Special attention was paid to spaces for family members who often wait for extended lengths of time during transplant surgeries and recovery, creating a comforting environment and a sense of privacy so families can take care of themselves as they prepare to take care of their loved ones. The top floor of the tower provides a uniquely private location for the St. Luke's cancer inpatient unit, and secure bone marrow transplant facility. This eight-bed unit is designed as individual clean environments, following very strict infection control standards with utmost safety in mind for this highly immune-compromised patient population. Private visitation rooms just outside the bedrooms allow patients to visit with family and friends while in a controlled environment. As their conditions improve, patients can easily move to the adjacent step-down unit, which provides specialty treatment rooms for high dose radiation and brachytherapy and shares many of the staff support spaces for the transplant unit, supporting seamless continuation of care for this fragile patient population. Aurora St. Luke's ranks as the US News & World Report #1 hospital in Milwaukee and was a 2012 finalist for the QUEST Award for High-value Healthcare for their efforts to reduce mortality, readmissions and costs, while improving the overall patient experience.