Playful murals, sculptures, and other artwork installations are not something the walls, ceilings, and medical equipment at Vancouver hospital facilities are known for, until now.
A significant expansion of BC Children’s Hospital incorporates some of the latest trends in hospital design, which focuses not only on the functionality of patient care but also acts as an emotional support system against the stress that comes with the intimidating environment.
At the end of this month, the new $640-million, eight-storey, 640,000-sq-ft Teck Acute Care Centre building will begin to accept young patients from across the province. It is located on the northern section of the hospital campus at Oak Street, with West 28th Avenue being its closest access point.
There are 231 private single-patient rooms, a new emergency department, eight operating rooms, as well as new spaces and units for procedures, medical and surgical inpatients, medical imaging, the hematology and oncology department, pediatric intensive care, high-risk labour and delivery, and neonatal intensive care.
The hospital’s design also takes into consideration that many parents and families often stay with their children at their bedside for an extended period. As a result, both patients and their families will have access to laundry facilities, family lounges, dining rooms, play areas, resource rooms, and storage space.
“The new acute-care centre will provide improved comfort and privacy for families in their time of need,” said BC Health Minister Adrian Dix.
“A perfect example of this is the centre’s neonatal intensive care unit, which is designed to keep new moms together with their babies in the same room, helping to promote bonding and reduce stress. This model of care means less separation for families and is a key way to help ensure these vulnerable babies get the very best start in life.”
The facility’s new and expanded emergency department comes with an interactive virtual aquarium – in partnership with the Vancouver Aquarium – on a giant wall screen in the waiting area. The installation is intended to keep children distracted and entertained while they wait for their turn for care.
A room where intrusive medical procedures are conducted boasts 100 LED twinkling lights to recreate the night sky and show major constellations such as the Big Dipper and Orion.
Hospital staff told Daily Hive it goes even further as patients next door will experience a ‘spacewalk’ outside the International Space Station during their procedure before ‘returning to Earth’ in the recovery room. All of this was designed with the help of the H.R. Macmillan Space Centre.
One of the MRI rooms, outfitted with the latest and fastest scanning machine, is designed with wall murals of the mountains and ocean life. When patients look up, they will see a partially-lit ceiling depicting the sky with helium balloons and a hot air balloon.
Another room for x-ray scanning features murals of the ocean and frolicking whales.
Clouds and blue skies are painted onto entire ceilings of some trauma units and treatment spaces, including operating rooms.
And other care facilities are sports-themed thanks to donations from the Vancouver Canucks and Whitecaps.
Even some of the hospital equipment has received the special design flair, with portable x-ray machines parked in the hallways decorated as giraffes.
As well, many of the hallways are decorated with large floor-to-ceiling murals that stretch almost the entire length of the corridor.
Altogether, the new facility has 400 different works of art as part of the hospital’s Children’s Healing Experience Project. It is designed to create a gentle healing environment as studies show it can significantly reduce anxiety and perceived pain.
BC Children’s Hospital treats newborns, children, and expectant mothers from all corners of the province. Over 200,000 patients are treated at its Vancouver campus every year.
The Teck Acute Care Centre, named after the Vancouver-based mining company for its $25-million donation towards the new facility, will begin to receive patients on October 29. It marks the completion of the hospital redevelopment’s second phase.
A third phase to be completed by 2020 will relocate the Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children to the campus and add 10 single-room maternity care spaces at BC Women’s Hospital.
Elsewhere in the region, three other hospital improvement projects are in progress or planned.
New Westminster’s Royal Columbian Hospital is undergoing a $259-million expansion that will include a new 75-bed psychiatry and substance abuse treatment centre.
In Vancouver, plans are moving forward to relocate St. Paul’s Hospital to a new $1.2-billion state-of-the-art facility at the False Creek Flats near SkyTrain’s Main Street-Science World Station.
And a master plan is being created to renovate and expand Burnaby Hospital at a cost of over $600 million.