Veterans Affairs Medical Center – Tomah

Tomah, WI
Comfortable, Secure Home Environment for Veterans

At a Glance

  • SUMMARY: Converted two floors of office space into community living center
  • SIZE: 40-beds, 32,000 sf
  • COMPLETION: CDs completed in 41⁄2 months, June 2013
  • CONSTRUCTION COST: $8.5 million
  • OWNER: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tomah VA Medical Center
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Comfortable, secure home environment for veterans

Within a three-story occupied VA campus building, Continuum transformed two floors of office space into a 40-bed community living center arranged in neighborhood pods. Continuum facilitated programming and design efforts to create a space based on the Green House Concept—a small intentional community in which both staff and residents flourish. The result is an environment where patients enjoy private, intimate rooms for their living area, while experiencing the convenience of shared spaces such as kitchens, dining, spa, and lounges. At the same time service delivery remains efficient, but less obvious.

It was crucial for the design team to work with residents, medical staff, facilities staff, and engineering consultants to assure that the person-centered goals of care and established VA Design Guidelines were met. This includes empowering both staff and residents; maximizing residents’ autonomy and quality of life; and minimizing staff inefficiencies.

Designed for Resident Comfort and Staff Convenience

Corridors are lined on one side with private rooms and on the other with windows that provide an abundance of natural light. These single-loaded corridors make up pods that share living rooms and nursing staff. This concept creates hubs of activity that enlivens the space and eliminates any hint of an institutional environment.

While the resident rooms are elegant and personalized, medical needs are not sacrificed. Rooms have complete, yet discreet, headwall systems custom designed with medical gases and outlets, overhead lifts, and a small nurse station hidden from the main room. The technical design expertise needed to equip these headwalls is no different than what is needed when designing any procedure room in a typical primary clinic set up or a patient room in a hospital.

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