This past January, a new chapter in caring for patients with neurological disorders began as the Stanford Neuroscience Health Center (NHC) opened its doors. This first-of-its-kind comprehensive care center brings together the three pillars of neurological care—neurology, neurosurgery and interventional neuroradiology—under one roof to transform how patients with neurological conditions or injuries such as brain tumors, movement disorders, brain aneurysms, spine deterioration, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and memory disorders are diagnosed, treated and cared for.
Sharing space in this 92,000 square foot, five-floor facility, are providers from 21 neuroscience subspecialties who now work side-by-side, sharing their expertise and information rapidly in a highly collaborative environment.
“One of the great advantages of having all these specialists in one place is that we can assume a multidisciplinary approach to the patient, not just in theory, but in reality,” said NHC co-leader Gary K. Steinberg, MD, PhD, the Bernard and Ronni Lacroute-William Randolph Hearst Professor in Neurosurgery and Neurosciences and professor and chair of neurosurgery. “Integrating outpatient services into one convenient location results in more accurate diagnoses, organized care, better quality of life and improved outcomes for the patient.”
To get it just right, Stanford chose to build the new center from the ground up, and it enlisted input from the very people who would spend their days within its walls—clinicians, researchers and patient and families.
“This building is the result of incredible collaboration of patients, architects, our physicians and other care team members who have helped to inform every aspect of the design to deliver the best possible experience for neuroscience patients and their families,” said Alison Kerr, Vice resident, Neuroscience Service Line, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Operations at Stanford Health Care and one of the center’s project leaders.
The Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), a group of 12 patients who have been treated for neurological disorders, and their family members, were instrumental in guiding critical elements of the building integrity that help the patient journey. They informed decisions impacting both operational and design elements, including creating a single check-in for multiple appointments, larger exam rooms, wider doors and hallways, sturdier chairs and floors organized logically to reduce the distance patients must cover moving from place to place.
“The life of a neuroscience patient can be extremely difficult, and having a seat at the table to give a patient’s perspective on every detail from the flooring to the wall colors to the types of chairs is incredibly empowering,” said Paula Holwell, chair of the Stanford Neuroscience PFAC.
“We want our patients to come to our center and immediately recognize that it was designed to respond to their unique challenges in ways they have never seen in a care facility,” said NHC coleader Frank M. Longo, MD, PhD, the George and Lucy Becker Professor in Medicine and professor and chair of neurology and neurological sciences.
Beyond its patient-centered design, the new center offers patients access to advanced diagnostic techniques, the latest treatments and groundbreaking clinical trials, some of which are not available anywhere else in the world. The center also includes an Autonomic Lab with one of the first clinical care thermoregulatory sweat labs in the nation and the first dedicated clinical PET/MRI. It also houses a dedicated neurorehabilitation space with a balance lab, a kinematic lab, an outdoor mobility garden and a wellness center, and is home to an established NIH Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and a clinical trials research area