Amenities at New UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay Offer Something for Everyone

Meditation Rooms, Artwork, Easy Parking Help Make the Visitor Experience Less Stressful

By Kate Vidinsky

For the children, women and cancer patients who will be treated there, UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay will be an invaluable resource offering groundbreaking care for patients and a full range of amenitie for their loved ones.

Visitors who will come through the doors will find that the state-of-the-art facilities are designed to fulfill their personal needs and help ease their stress.

From specially designed meditation spaces and play areas to sleeping accommodations and dining, UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay promises to treat not only its patients with the utmost sensitivity and care, but their entire support network that is so integral to healing.

“We want our health care to not only fix problems, but to empower individuals and their families as well,” said UCSF Child Life Services Manager Michael Towne. “UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay will take a holistic and humanistic approach and recognizes that no one should have to go through hospitalization without the support network that comes along with that person.”

Places to Get Away and Breath

Throughout the hospital complex, spaces have been created that will serve as internal “away zones” – areas where visitors will be able to take a break, regroup and breathe fresh air.

Both the women’s and cancer hospitals will have several personal meditation rooms outfitted with nature-inspired décor and sound systems that play soothing music. Exterior, open air sky terraces also will enable visitors to go outside and take in the surrounding views of San Francisco without having to leave the patient care unit. Each unit of the children’s hospital will have several private alcoves designed for parents and others to easily step away for a moment, when needed.

Spaces also have been designed to bring people together. Two-story sky lobbies in the adult hospitals will offer sweeping views to the west and added space for the Art for Recovery program and the patient resource library.

The children’s hospital will offer a number of family lounges, including the aptly named “Room that Hugs You,” a large room near the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for siblings and family members.  

The already exceptional Child Life Services program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, which provides children and their families with the resources and support they need to understand the hospital environment and adjust to illness and treatment, will further grow and flourish in the new facility.

Several Child Life spaces will cater to patients’ siblings and other family members, including a playroom, teen lounge and creative arts studio. An on-site school room, a fully accredited part of the San Francisco Unified School District, will continue to welcome all school-age siblings of patients, so they can continue their studies during a family member’s hospital stay.

A Healing Environment

Extensive healing gardens, totaling more than four acres of green space, will provide connections to nature for families and loved ones. Each of the 10 ground-level and rooftop gardens throughout the complex will respond to the unique needs of the different patient groups and their support networks.

Just off the public corridor between the children’s and adult hospitals, a beautiful meditation garden filled with plantings and art will be available to everyone round-the-clock. The meditation garden will be connected to a peaceful, nondenominational chapel, and adjacent to the chaplain’s office.

“We worked very hard to create these respite areas, with the idea in mind that there ought to be somewhere for everyone who visits the medical center and a service to answer every need,” said Lynn Befu, who leads interiors at Stantec, the architecture firm working on the hospital project.

The medical center also will be home to a striking art collection, with large-scale commissioned pieces and smaller exhibits throughout the facility that evoke positive feelings in a creative, rich environment, explained Towne, who also serves on the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay’s Art Committee.

“Hospitals have the lofty task of selecting artwork that is diverse and broadly appealing without being too watered down,” Towne said. “The nature of art is to be provocative, and when choosing pieces for a hospital environment, you want them to be provocative in terms of healing, growth and inspiration. In essence, this is what we are aiming to achieve with every one of our visitor programs.”

Basic Needs Made Easy

The attention that has been paid to the visitor experience at UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay will be evident from the moment someone arrives and parks his or her car.

Visitors will have the option of parking in a multilevel garage or an open lot, or they may opt to use valet service. Signage will be clear and well-marked to ensure visitors have an easy time finding exactly where they need to go.

“When a family member comes in and they are in a stressful situation, parking should be absolutely straightforward. You should park, find your way and have it be a non-issue,” Befu said.

As far as overnight accommodations are concerned, visitors to UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay will have a number of options available to suit different needs.

Every acute and intensive care room in the 289-bed hospital complex will have enough space for family members or loved ones to stay overnight, with convertible furniture pieces that can be used as a bed. For parents with babies in the Intensive Care Nursery, special rooms will be available on the unit for families to have a “trial run” overnight with their newborns before bringing them home.

The in-hospital Ronald McDonald House – equipped with rooms, showers, a kitchen and family room – will serve families in crisis situations for short-term stays, and nearby Family House will provide longer-term accommodations for families whose children have cancer and other life-threatening illnesses that require extended stays.

The dining options at UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay also will be varied.

A full-service café will be located on the first floor, with both indoor and outdoor seating and a dedicated area for children. Meal selections will include an entrée station with comfort food made fresh daily, made-to-order items like omelets and paninis, pasta and rice bowls, and a market-fresh salad bar.

“We will continue to extend the commitment we started at the Parnassus campus to provide customers with fresh food prepared daily from sustainable and local sources,” said Dan Henroid, director of nutrition and food services for UCSF Medical Center. “We also will continue to highlight healthy foods, making it easy for customers to make informed choices.”

Two convenience stores will be located next door to the main cafeteria and in the lobby of the outpatient building, offering coffee, espresso, sandwiches and snack items.

On-demand room service dining will be available for patients and visitors from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, and several vending and ATM machines will be located right by the main café for late night options.

Photos from the Mission Bay Block Party by Susan Merrell.