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JOURNAL/ The Health Edit/2019

Quality of Life Series

Designing beyond the health process, for the human experience.

Research worldwide is increasingly pointing towards a patient-centric healthcare model with spaces that promote comfort, wellness and recovery. It is essential to the experience of a patient to create a place for positive healing as opposed to just treating disease.

Bates Smart’s latest healthcare projects demonstrate an empathetic design approach that has care at its core.

Research worldwide is increasingly pointing towards a patient-centric healthcare model with spaces that promote comfort, wellness and recovery. It is essential to the experience of a patient to create a place for positive healing as opposed to just treating disease.

Bates Smart’s latest healthcare projects demonstrate an empathetic design approach that has care at its core.

 

Cabrini Gandel Wing: A space for healing

 “The environment is light and bright, and that in itself has an uplifting impact on staff, just as it does for patients.”

Dr Michael Walsh

Chief Executive, Cabrini Health

At the heart of the design for the new Gandel Wing at Cabrini, Malvern, is the transformation of hospitals from sterile, clinical environments to places which are welcoming, warm and tranquil.

The new building combines state-of-the-art treatment, with the latest in technology to provide patients with an exemplar model of healthcare. The new wing rises seven storeys above ground and four below, providing an additional 110 beds. The facility provides treatment for cancer, cardiac, emergency, geriatric care, infectious disease and maternity.

The key building façade element is a slatted terracotta screen which provides sun shading, allows for views outwards and maintains privacy for patients internally. The facade complements the adjacent 1960s hospital building, uniting the site into a harmonious and identifiable health campus.

Providing generous views was an important part of the design strategy, as research has demonstrated that access to the natural world improves the wellbeing of patients. According to Studio Director, Mark Healey, the interior team “approached every aspect of this design through the lens of the patient to ensure new levels of dignity, comfort and safety.”

Rooms have been designed to feel more akin to a hotel room than a traditional hospital room. Bespoke joinery conceals medical equipment and natural materials give the rooms a warm ambience.

The design team worked to ensure patient safety, providing each room with a direct sight line between the bed and ensuite, coupled with subtle handrail lighting. This demonstrates a more empathetic approach to healthcare design that has the holistic wellbeing of the patient at its core.

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The CityShapers Interview Series | Dr Michael Walsh, Cabrini Health

 “A healing environment encourages patients and their families to start thinking outside of and beyond their illness.”

Dr Michael Walsh

Chief Executive, Cabrini Health

Bates Smart has a long-standing relationship with Cabrini Health, which creates confidence to design and innovate more freely. Bates Smart Studio Director, Mark Healey, sat down with Dr Michael Walsh, Cabrini’s Chief Executive, to discuss his thoughts on health, how design will help drive healing for Cabrini’s patients and how this new facility will provide much needed support for the local community.

Mark Healey: Bates Smart shares a long-standing relationship with Cabrini Health that spans over 50 years, having designed MC1+2, and now the new Gandel Wing. What is the value of partnerships in the healthcare environment?

Dr Michael Walsh: I think the most important element of a partnership in healthcare is a synchronicity of core values. That is, the core values that underpin both organisations. What Cabrini has learned over time from the long relationship with Bates Smart is a deep knowledge of the company’s ethos. This benefits both parties because it means there is more opportunity for innovation as a result of this strong understanding of each other.

MH: Bates Smart and Cabrini work so well together because there is a shared ethos. I think this really resonates with the local community and the tremendous support that has been shown for the building. What do you think is unique about Cabrini that allows these partnerships to flourish with the community?

MW: Cabrini enjoys a strong community identity in Malvern. There is a wide range of local community groups in the area – Jewish, Italian, Greek – with whom Cabrini Health has grown. We’ve also benefited from being part of a sort of medically-focussed belt stretching from Prahran and down to Clayton. I think if you walked the halls of Cabrini, a lot of patients would recall their being born in the area. So from the beginning, Cabrini has always been a community facility. And I think with that loyalty, the community can develop a sense of trust in the whole design team to deliver first-class healthcare services.

MH: We design with the concept of salutogenesis in mind, an approach that focuses on healing and wellbeing rather than treating disease. Do you think design can affect the patients’ ability to recover and how important is this concept for Cabrini?

MW: I absolutely believe that good healthcare design can deeply benefit a patient’s recovery, and there is good evidence to support this. It’s fascinating to notice the way things have evolved over 60 or 70 years in design thinking, the delivery of healthcare, and the impact of that on the outcome for the patient.

One of the interesting things about Cabrini is its history tracing back to the 1950s. There are various living and breathing epochs scattered around the site, and if you walk through them you will notice a gradual emergence of a design thinking that considers the amenity of patients, visitors and staff.

What is really crucial in the design of the Gandel Wing is the emphasis on environment. Not only with the use of natural materials to give rooms a warm ambience, but the idea of a healing environment that encourages patients and their families to start thinking outside of their illness rather than being introspective. The Gandel wing is a significant milestone in healthcare design thinking that puts the patient experience and wellbeing at the forefront.

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