St. Clara’s Rehab and Senior Care

Lincoln, IL

Design that puts residents at the center

When our client made a decision to replace their existing skilled nursing facility with a new building which would support their goal of transitioning from a medical care model to a resident-centered care model, WJW saw an opportunity not just to design, but to spark dialog that might ultimately improve the lives of St. Clara’s residents and staff.

Before starting the design process, we led the client team through a series of charrettes and programming discussions to establish project goals, priorities and develop a list of desired features for the new building. Along the way, we were able to challenge existing notions of what nursing care environments can and should be and foster consensus and anticipation around what we could create together.

Through thoughtful collaboration, we arrived at a finished project that advances design for state-of-the-art, evidence-based care delivery in a human-centered environment. Design for both short-term patients receiving rehabilitation care and long-term residents were considered, resulting in carefully balanced, dual design approaches. Short-term care areas are designed with a nod to hospitality design, while long-term areas were created to foster a sense of a residential, home-like atmosphere. Indoor-outdoor connections are fostered throughout via inclusion of large windows in all common areas, clerestory windows that bring much-needed daylight into interior spaces — even hallways — and wings which are oriented around 5 unique exterior courtyard garden spaces connected to common areas. These strong biophilic elements are part of an overall design that takes care to foster both mental and physical wellbeing in a population that is often overlooked in skilled nursing care, building in a supportive environment, community connections and an enhanced quality of life. 

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