New Hospital Information Pop Ups
There’s a flurry of activity surrounding BC Children’s Hospital these days. Piece by piece, layer by layer, the new Teck Acute Care Centre (TACC), the key component of the second phase of the hospital’s redevelopment, is starting to take shape. This has everyone — patients, their families, caregivers and more — bubbling over with enthusiasm.
“The excitement is building as the levels go up, as we move from a giant hole in the ground, which we had about this time last year, to an eight-storey concrete structure, ” said Gillian Hobbs, communications coordinator for the BC Children’s and BC Women’s Redevelopment Project.
The project was designed with patients, families and care teams in mind. They have been part of the consultation process right from the start, but many still have questions about exactly how TACC is going to function. That’s where the redevelopment team comes in.
Display boards and floor plans in hospital common areas, family advocates in departments, and social media channels all help to keep the community informed as the hospital construction continues.
Over the past few weeks, information booths have been popping up in different areas as well. The goal is not only to keep everyone up to date on the construction, but also to engage with clinicians from various departments to ensure their needs are met once the centre opens in 2017.
The biggest issue currently, by far, is the lack of space. With more and more technology needed to provide patients with the best possible care, the wings and patient rooms of BC Children’s Hospital, which was completed in 1982, have become extremely cramped, and parents are often found sleeping on the floor.
“Thirty years ago, we didn’t necessary value or think it was important to have family members stay with our patients, when you look at least on our floors,” said Analyn Perez, the clinical project lead for the hospital’s Oncology Department. “Rooms are single rooms. They basically fit a bed and a cabinet. Now we know that it is important to have family members as part of the healing process.”
Currently, the Oncology Department is segmented into three levels. The outpatient clinic, where children with cancer go for day treatment, is located on the first floor while the inpatient areas are on the second and third floors. About 130 children in BC are diagnosed with cancer every year and approximately 700 are in active cancer treatment. As the hospital stands now, there are simply not enough rooms (some have zero access to natural light) and patients constantly have to move between floors. That geological constraint has been frustrating for families and caregivers alike and is the inspiration behind the design of the new centre.
“Currently, the way we deliver care is because of geography,” said Perez. “What is exciting about [the new space] is that we are able to design our floor to meet the way we want to work versus having to work a certain way around the physical boundaries.”
The new Oncology Department will be housed on one level, with larger, more functional rooms and a dedicated family space that will include a kitchen, showers and even laundry. This design will allow staff to easily flow between patients and provide better infection control as the patients will no longer need to move between floors.
The Oncology Department isn’t the only one undergoing massive changes. Every floor, every unit in the hospital is redesigning its care delivery model. An important piece of that is interior design. Perez says she is looking forward to partnering with the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and its donors to create a holistic healing environment — through thoughtful design, the use of murals and much more — to transform patients’ experience and aid in their recovery.
“That way, when [the patients] walk in, it is less stressful and more welcoming and we can use it to decrease any anxiety or stress that they may have,” said Perez. “In many cases, we see that we are using less sedation because they are less scared and more comfortable in that type of space.”