Children's Psychiatric Hospital

Children's Psychiatric Hospital

Children's Psychiatric Hospital

The Children's Psychiatric Hospital was completed in December, 1955. Swanson Associates, of Bloomfield Hills, were the architects, and Jeffress-Dyer, Inc., of Washington, D. C., was awarded the contract in the amount of $2,151,804. Construction was begun in the spring of 1954.

The new hospital was to be a part of a total children's medical center with a 291-bed capacity. Built to harmonize with the Outpatient Clinic and the Kresge Medical Research Building, the Children's Psychiatric Hospital accommodated seventy-five children ranging in age from six to fifteen years.

All walls in the living quarters were tiled, floors were of Gibraltar, and windows were louvre type with inside screens. Through careful use of colors, drapes, and other decorations, a warm tone was provided.

All wards had three types of accommodations, four-bed dormitories, two-bed dormitories, and some single rooms. In addition, two detention rooms were provided in each ward to handle acute outbursts and allow for brief isolation when necessary.

Special features in each ward included a large playroom for active games, a smaller playroom for quiet games and music, a snack bar for evening use, and a group therapy room for special evening projects. Special planning went into dining room construction and service. Children ate at tables planned for five children and one adult. Service was family style from platters on the tables when children sat down to eat. This allows for some degree of self selection which was important to children. It was observed that when an unwished for food was presented, it was more throwable than eatable and mealtimes could be hectic.

The Children's Psychiatric Hospital was designed around a total program that included all aspects of special care which had been found to have therapeutic value. Because severely disturbed children may dislike school as a result of experiences in community schools, the hospital was geared to provide specially planned schooling in small groups. Six remedial reading rooms in the school area were provided to help overcome reading disabilities, common in disturbed children. One floor was devoted to classrooms and shops. There were five of each.

To take care of recreational needs there was a fully equipped gymnasium and a swimming pool. There was also a 100-seat auditorium equipped for movies, plays, and other entertainment in which the children themselves participate.

Other recreation facilities included a large playground with facilities for baseball, volley ball, slides, swings, sand piles, a wading pool, and other resources.

Each child in the hospital had a minimum of three hours a week with a psychiatrist in training.

Direct psychotherapy was practiced off the ward, away from the living area. Each child saw his doctor by regular appointment in the doctorʼs office — he was in effect attending a clinic separate from his home within the hospital.

Lee Marks (The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey, p. 1653)