Clive Behavioral Health | Case Study for Behavioral Health Design

«Back to Blog
Jun 23, 2021 JJCA Lessons Learned

We're proud to add Clive Behavioral Health to the list of hospitals we've designed for the Universal Health Services (UHS) family of more than 330 inpatient behavioral healthcare facilities. Clive is a joint venture of MercyOne and UHS, formed several years ago when the unmet demand for behavioral health in central Iowa exceeded MercyOne's capacity and resources to address the need.

Our own David Brown and Clive's CEO, Mary Thompson, recently made a presentation for the Behavioral Health Affiliates of Iowa (BHAI) about both the value of the partnership with UHS and the process of designing a behavioral health facility, using Clive's new 100-bed west campus facility as an example.

On the topic of the development process for a new behavioral health hospital, Mary had some excellent advice that boils down to:  selecting the right design and construction team; collaborating with local and state officials, community leaders and mental health advocates; communicating extensively with local residents; and attending to lots and lots of details.

So what are the characteristics of a good design team? When it comes to behavioral health, David explained why empathy is critical, particularly as it relates to finding ways to break down the stigmas associated with mental health. Good design aims to find the right balance between providing a homelike environment and a place specifically designed to promote and support healing. Clive's new facility maximizes natural light with open spaces, high ceilings and ample large windows. The building itself cordons off a variety of patient and staff outdoor courtyards.

David shared that functionally, the separation of patient types is critical so that child and adolescent populations have their own space, separate from adults, and the circulation and flow of each patient population allows for coordinated but separate use of shared spaces. Strategic location of facility entrances is also a must, as emergency and law enforcement need to have a separate and secure entrance, away from outpatient and main entrances.

Clive is currently maintaining a limited daily census of adult patients while in the accreditation and licensure process for their new 100-bed facility and they expect to expand child and adolescent, as well as adult inpatient and outpatient services by mid-summer.


A big P.S. to this story that just shows it really is a small world:  David discovered that he was on the BHAI panel with Frank Pitts, fondly dubbed by David as the grandfather of behavioral design. Frank shared with David that his first public presentation about mental health was on a panel with JJCA founding-partner, Ed Johnson, about 25 years ago, when Frank and Ed had two of only three major behavioral health projects underway in North America.  That is unbelievable given the number of facitlities that UHS alone has in operation today.  

Share :


No Comments Found

Leave a Comment

Fields with * are required.