Helping Restore the "Big Charity" in New Orleans

Technical assistance for a new post-Katrina safety net medical center designed to improve health care

Field of Work: Evidence-based hospital design

Problem Synopsis: In 2005, Hurricane Katrina forced the closure of Charity Hospital in New Orleans, a public hospital that had provided more than 90 percent of the care for uninsured people in that city. The loss of "Big Charity" severely challenged training for medical residents and other health care professionals as well as the delivery of care.

Synopsis of the Work: From 2007 to 2011, LSU Health Care Services Division worked with partners to apply evidence-based design principles in creating a new top-quality hospital. In health care, evidence-based design relies on research-based best practices to improve the quality and safety of patient care and the workplace.

LSU Health subcontracted with researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology's College of Architecture for technical assistance in pursuing much of this work. The Georgia Tech team provided intensive consultation on evidence-based design, and created a Just-in-Time Research service to provide a rapid response on key design decisions.

Key Results: The project team completed architectural plans for a new 424-bed hospital that incorporates numerous features of evidence-based design. Groundbreaking for the hospital occurred in April 2011. It is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.

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