Palomar Health

Escondido, CA
Specialty Healthcare | Crisis Stabilization Unit | 2-Story | 6,700 sq ft


Palomar Health needed a standalone Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) on the Palomar Medical Center Escondido campus. For over 10 years, hospitalization for mental or substance use disorders had increased at a faster rate than any other clinical diseases category for hospital admission. Having the CSU would serve the needs of San Diego North County Inland communities by freeing emergency department beds, stabilizing mental health patients in a less restrictive environment and improving community safety.


RAD worked collaboratively with the Palomar Health team and San Diego based architecture firm Mascari Warner Dinh Architects to design a 6,700 sq ft custom 2-story OSHPD approved CSU facility with a curved floor plan. The shape of the facility maximized the available space on the small site to ensure the entire program fit into one building. The floor plan was designed to provide an efficient and secure patient experience.

In response to Palomar’s requests, attention was paid to both the design of the interior and the materials used. Earth tone colors were selected for the majority of the wall and floor surfaces to reflect the Southern California landscape. A blue accent delineates the patient care space from the circulation areas. A wood accent wall in the entrance lobby provides for a natural and calming entrance. In addition, all-natural wood doors are used throughout the facility. Several security precautions were taken as well to ensure the safety of the patients. Anti-ligature ceilings, door hardware and plumbing fixtures are utilized within patient care areas. Tamper resistant light fixtures, electrical fixtures and sprinkler heads are also used to promote patient safety. In addition, the millwork at the nurses’ station was designed so that the staff has full visibility of the patient care areas, but is still protected if a patient becomes aggressive.

RAD’s Financing Team developed an Operating Lease that met Palomar’s operating margin requirements using RAD’s access to financial markets, advancing the project to achieve Palomar’s goals. 

Assembled and ready for occupancy in less than 8 months. 

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“The CSU provides a quiet, safe environment for medically stable patients under direct, constant supervision of professional behavioral health staff. The CSU is a less restrictive alternative to hospitalization and best suited for this vulnerable population in crisis while freeing beds in the Emergency Department.”

Sheila Brown

Vice President of Continuum of Care, Palomar Health

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