The Teck Acute Care Centre
We Are Built to Heal
The Teck Acute Care Centre at BC Children’s Hospital launches a new era of child health
The children of British Columbia now have an innovative, state-of-the-art hospital to complement the outstanding care BC Children's Hospital has long been known for. The Teck Acute Care Centre is, literally, built to heal. Patients' and their families' entire journey-of body, mind and spirit-has been planned and designed in extraordinary detail.
It is said that it takes a village to raise a child; in this case, the entire province was onboard. With strong support from the Government of British Columbia and the Provincial Health Services Authority, BC Children's Hospital Foundation undertook the largest hospital campaign in Canadian history to raise $200 million. The community responded and more than 80,000 British Columbians pledged their support.
Through the campaign, we also established and funded Child Health BC (Lead Benefactor, Save-On-Foods) to ensure children have access to the best possible health care wherever they live in the province.
After the capital campaign concluded, we raised $6 million to establish the Children's Healing Experience Project—the curating and procurement of purposeful artworks to provide positive distraction, inspire, educate, and promote healing. The majesty and splendor of British Columbia is reflected throughout the Teck Acute Care Centre, evoking a sense of home and depicting all corners of the province.
The impetus for this landmark building is a novel approach to collaboration between clinicians, surgeons, patient families, hospital leadership, designers, builders and philanthropic donors. Together, they meticulously detailed every step of patients' and their families' hospital journey.
The result is spectacular. Immediately, BC Children's Hospital enhances its stature as a leading pediatric academic health centre in Canada and around the world. And this is just the beginning.
During the years of planning and construction, there have been major advances in science and technology. Research capacity has grown exponentially and innovations in clinical care delivery are taking place that we could only have dreamed about five years ago.
Every day we are moving closer to our vision: that every child is healthy and able to fulfill their hopes and dreams. The vision, ingenuity and collaboration at the heart of the Teck Acute Care Centre are indications of the infinite possibilities that lie ahead. Because these are our children, because this is our future, we believe everything can and must be possible.
The Teck Acute Care Centre demonstrates the greater good that comes when government and communities galvanize to support excellence.
Children's Healing Experience Project
Art That Promotes Healing
The Teck Acute Care Centre at BC Children's Hospital: the healing power of purposeful art
Featured throughout the Teck Acute Care Centre is a curated collection of original murals, sculptures and interactive displays created by more than 60 artists and six iconic community organizations from across BC. On each floor, purposeful art and installations engage, inspire and comfort children, youth, families and staff.
The donor-funded, $6 million Children's Healing Experience Project (CHEP) is the first of its kind in Canada. There is a growing body of evidence that healing experiences using purposeful art can result in measurable clinical outcomes, including reduction in anxiety, perception of pain, and need for sedation, as well as shortened hospital stays.
CHEP was designed to engage, distract and comfort children, youth, families and staff, and support health outcomes by integrating art and installations to facilitate patient care and enhance the physical environment. It is not "art for art's sake;" each piece of art and every installation has a purpose and is connected to a desired clinical outcome.
A guiding principle of the project was to involve the very people who understand the hospital experience the most: patients, families and health care professionals. A Children's Healing Experience Project Committee, made up of medical experts, patient families, community volunteers, builders, hospital leadership and Aesthetics Inc., reviewed more than 1,200 submissions through a nation-wide call for artists. Ultimately, it was the kids who had the final say on the artwork, weighing in with valuable feedback, like a desire for scenes that reminded them of home and activities with family.
The outcome is spectacular. The Teck Acute Care Centre is filled with 220 murals, 360 ceiling tiles and eight sculptures, which are all reflective of the natural beauty and diversity of BC. It also has exhibits from community partners — The Vancouver Art Gallery, Royal BC Museum, Vancouver Aquarium, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Museum of Anthropology at UBC, and Science World — designed to educate and engage our kids in ways never before seen in a hospital. There are also two themed playrooms created by the Vancouver Canucks and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC that offer kids a place to escape and families a setting to connect.
A Snapshot of the
Teck Acute Care Centre
As families arrive in the Save-On-Foods Atrium, they are immediately surrounded by serenity and nature. Large windows stream light in, while wood canopies create an environment that's perfectly attuned to the natural beauty of BC.
The new and expanded Ledcor Children's Emergency is equipped with 33 single-patient treatment rooms to give families privacy during stressful times, as well as two critical care rooms that provide the ample space trauma teams need to respond immediately. Kids who require longer stays can be transferred to the Clinical Decision Unit, a space where they can remain for up to 24 hours without having to be admitted.
From MRI scanners that provide faster exams and clearer pictures to CT scanners that emit less radiation, Lee Family Medical Imaging has the latest, state-of-the-art equipment. The entire department has been designed to comfort kids. Murals transform rooms into fantastical spaces that distract, while a built-in entertainment system streams a range of content for kids during their scans.
New operating rooms provide the abundant space for teams of surgeons, specialists, nurses, anesthesiologists and more to work side-by-side with ease. In addition to the latest surgical technologies, the ANOM Special Procedures Suites boast advanced imaging technology within. To help alleviate kids’ fears, corridors leading to the operating rooms are lined with murals featuring familiar scenes of home and the outdoors.
Pediatric Intensive Care
Every one of the 28 patient rooms in the Hudson Family Pediatric Intensive Care Unit is private. The rooms are significantly larger than before, which has allowed for big improvements in care and provides more space for equipment and large teams of health providers. Milan and Maureen Ilich Cardiac Intensive Care serves the unique needs of heart patients.
Medical & Surgical Inpatient Units
Each of the 96 private patient rooms, including the Mining4Life Inpatient Unit, has been fitted with a bed, bathroom, comfortable pullout sofa for loved ones, closet space, a refrigerator and television, and a large window with inspiring views. The rooms are divided into three zones—family, patient and health provider.
From play spaces designed for the youngest to lounges just for teens and parents, everybody needs their space. The Michael Cuccione Foundation Playroom and Auxiliary to BC Children's Hospital Parent Lounge are places for kids and families to commune. Two of British Columbia's favourite sports teams, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Vancouver Canucks, also designed their own themed playrooms, recreating many elements of the game experience.
From the Flavelle Family Wellness Park on the ground level all the way up to the healing garden on the top floor, the facility offers outdoor spaces for families and staff to get out and enjoy the fresh air.
The Alex Skidmore Renal Dialysis Unit has an open-concept layout; a design that encourages conversations and sparks new friendships. With many windows throughout, it's a bright, welcoming space for kids who often come several times a week for treatment.
The entire top floor of the hospital is designed for cancer patients. The air is even different—it's HEPA-filtered for added infection control. The For Children We Care 愛兒住院部 Oncology/Hematology/BMT Inpatient Unit has 27 private patient rooms, as well as a laundry facility, nutrition stations, and a kitchen for home-cooked meals. The Capstone Mining Oncology/Hematology/BMT Outpatient Clinic is equipped with 23 rooms that are adorned with distracting i-spy murals—providing kids with an inspirational space of their own to receive treatment.
The Healing Power of Purposeful Art
It Takes a Village to Heal a Child
When children are ill and must spend significant time in the hospital, they may miss key childhood experiences: attending school, participating in sports, hanging out with friends and going on fun outings in their community.
Six iconic BC institutions—the Vancouver Aquarium, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Science World, Museum of Anthropology at UBC, Vancouver Art Gallery and Royal BC Museum—were asked to bring unique, engaging experiences to the new building. Collaborating with patients, families and clinicians, each community partner created an experience that inspires wonder, awe and learning while reflecting the beauty and diversity of BC's natural environment.
"Staff across departments said 'yes' without hesitation and willingly took time from their schedules to create, source and write for the installation," said Janet MacDonald, Head of Learning at the Royal BC Museum. "We hope it provides some distraction and entertainment for patients and their families and can, in some small way, improve their experience and accelerate their healing journey."
Patient and family advisory committee members provided input and feedback about what they liked, calmed them and made them feel safe, including depictions of nature, animals in family pairs and familiar places.
"The kids told us that images of home made them feel safe and connected," said Analyn Perez, clinical lead on the Oncology ward. "Scenes from their hometown can be so important to their mental well-being and help them stay positive."
Looking Inside the Healing Environment
Lee Family Medical Imaging is a central hub for the more than 71,000 medical imaging exams performed annually. With procedures ranging from general radiology to nuclear medicine, medical imaging is also home to some of the most technologically advanced diagnostic equipment in the country. To a child, those giant, noisy machines can be very intimidating.
"When children need a medical imaging procedure, the biggest challenge is getting them to stay still, which can be difficult if they are anxious or fearful," said Diane Griffin, clinical lead. "We wanted to create a positive experience for them, and make the environment as calm as possible."
Often sedation is needed to keep a child still, but colourful murals will help distract and engage children which may reduce the need for sedation.
Medical imaging is also home to a state-of-the-art MRI simulator that mimics the experience of an actual exam. Team Kelowna Creative worked closely with clinical staff, patients and their families to create artwork and an accompanying narrative that transformed the simulator into an adventure story, with the child in the starring role.
Finding Calm in the Emergency Department
Arriving at the Emergency Department (ED) with your child is incredibly stressful. Denise Hudson, RN and clinical lead for the Ledcor Children's Emergency at the Teck Acute Care Centre knows first-hand how challenging it is for families to remain calm when they are worried about their child.
"The most rewarding part...was knowing that our installation could have a positive impact on children's well-being and healing."
"Families who come to the ED are scared and anxious," said Hudson. "They want to tell someone their story straight away and get help for their child immediately."
To help put families at ease, patients and families will receive treatment in spacious, private assessment rooms enhanced with purposeful distractions, including works of art and colourful ceiling tiles.
Murals showcasing the wonders of the ocean transform waiting areas, providing calming, positive distraction when tensions are high.
One of the most eye-catching features is a virtual aquarium. More than a beautiful display, the virtual aquarium is a gesture-based, interactive journey through three beautiful marine environments. Captivating to look at, and a pleasure to explore, this participatory digital art installation contributes to a more positive waiting room experience for patients and their families.
The virtual aquarium was custom designed by NGX Interactive, a Vancouver-based technology company, who worked with patients, families and clinicians to create a thoughtful, calming experience.
"The most rewarding part of working on this project was knowing that our installation could have a positive impact on children's well-being and healing," said Hanna Cho, producer at NGX. "It prompted our team to really push themselves and create something truly exceptional."
The Comforts of Home
Room for Family
For families, nothing is more stressful than having a sick child. The worry can be all-consuming and visits are not restricted to visiting hours.
To help kids and families feel more at ease, the Teck Acute Care Centre has been designed to provide comforts of home. The private patient rooms—all 231—are designed to be healing, welcoming spaces. In addition to the essentials, each room includes sleeping accommodations for a loved one and a large window with inspiring views. Medical/surgical inpatient rooms also include a bathroom with tub and shower, spacious cupboards, fridges and televisions.
"Having features like closet space is huge," said Tina Chin, a member of the Family Advisory Committee, whose son, Aidan, was treated at the hospital for cancer. "Whether you're there for one week, a month or six months, you don't want to feel like you are living out of a suitcase."
Beyond the room, amenities are spread throughout each floor to make the hospital feel homier. There are laundry machines, nutrition stations and parent showers. On the oncology floor – which has some of the longest staying patients – there's even a full kitchen to prepare meals.
"We know that families heal faster when they are together," said Jaime Williams, clinical lead for the Hudson Family Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. "But if family members are not taking care of their own needs – eating, resting, socializing – they will get run down and may become sick themselves."
Kids and families can also feel a loss of control when in the hospital. With new enhancements, the facility has been designed to give a sense of it back. Personalization boards encourage kids to decorate their room with photos or share things about themselves. They can also use a remote control to contact the nurse, watch what they feel like on TV, or adjust the intensity of the lighting in the room. There's even a Food-On-Demand service that lets them eat when they want to.
Outside of the private patient rooms, there are a number of gathering places where family members can connect with others experiencing a similar journey. The strong bonds and sense of community these spaces provide can help support parents during their toughest days.
"Friends and family mean well and want to help in every way that they can," said Chad Farquharson, a member of the Family Advisory Committee, "but other parents with sick kids truly understand your journey. They get the loneliness, the fear, and the need to escape from reality, if only for a short time."
Families can bond over their shared love of sport while watching a hockey game in the Vancouver Canucks-themed playroom, or quietly talk over tea in the Auxiliary to BC Children's Hospital Parent Lounge.
Kids also need places to unwind and play. The Teck Acute Care Centre features playrooms and activity rooms where they can hang out and just have fun. The Michael Cuccione Foundation Playroom, for instance, offers space to watch TV, play video games together, or make crafts. The Vancouver Whitecaps FC-themed playroom boasts a ceiling-mounted projector that allows kids to play a motion-activated virtual game of soccer.
Six gardens create healing spaces for kids and families to get some fresh air and relax. With sensational views, the gardens offer a much-needed change of scenery for patients who spend copious time in their rooms.
"It's so important to have the chance to get outside," said Analyn Perez, an oncology nurse with BC Children's Hospital. "It may seem small, but being able to enjoy fresh air is huge in the grand scheme of things."
We want to acknowledge the PHSA and the BC Government for having built an extraordinary facility that will transform child health care in BC.
We also want to recognize the generous support from over 80,000 British Columbians who supported the Campaign for BC Children.
To all who helped make this dream a reality for BC's kids and their families, we offer our most heartfelt thanks – it is a place that is truly built to heal.View the Donors