Lee Health’s Skilled Nursing Unit (SNU) on the Gulf Coast Medical Center campus was designed with a focus on creating a space for the rehabilitation of patients with reduced stability and mobility issues. To supplement the state-of-the-art treatment facility, the complimentary outdoor spaces of the Skilled Nursing Unit consolidate the recovery and wellbeing of patients by providing common place obstacles such as stairs, ramps, and a myriad of loose and fixed landscape walking surfaces (mulch, shell, gravel, pine straw, and pavers) to prepare patients for real world situations in an attractive setting. With strategically placed seating and viewing areas and an interactive ADA accessible gardening area, the design supports physical and mental health for all levels of patient rehabilitation.
The landscape design by Morris-Depew Associates’ Landscape Architecture division was specifically planned to compliment the modern building architecture through plant selections that are suggestive of a resort-style setting rather than a medical facility. The predominately native landscape focuses on a dense planting of native ornamental grasses to help filter runoff and uptake pollutants, flowering native shrubs that attract wildlife and promote harmony with nature, and a species section that accommodates the solar exposure and microclimates created by the building orientation.
In addition to aiding physical patient recovery, the design also offers beautiful views from patient suites to help aid in mental welfare. The landscape design also fills a gap for connectivity in Lee Health’s overall campus trail system master plan. The trail system, which is currently under expansion at the existing Gulf Coast Hospital, will consist of seven pocket parks, over two and half miles of walking paths with branches of the trail extending to the Skilled Nursing Unit facility. The trail master plan is part of a larger effort by Lee Health to promote preventative care and health and wellness by encouraging increased physical activity and mental wellbeing. Patients, staff, and visitors alike will benefit from the respite provided by the various landscapes and physical activities provided along this trail system that now extends to the Skilled Nursing Unit facility