HDR | Rice Daubney : Patient-Centred Care – A key driver for HDR | Rice Daubney designed lifehouse

By ahhb
Friday, 14 March, 2014

In the provision of healthcare, the building container – both design and execution is a critical determining factor. Accommodating people in a highly vulnerable state is an enormous challenge for architects. Specifically, the ability to combine architecture and art with medical science, logistics, technical equipment and building technology is of great importance when it comes to environments that meet the needs of patients, relatives, medical staff and researchers.
Housed in a new high-performance building, the 45,000sqm Chris O’Brien Lifehouse accommodates research facilities, clinical services, education facilities and support functions integrating with the existing functions of the Royal Price Alfred Hospital and research facilities of The University of Sydney.
The vision for Lifehouse was to become Sydney’s premier Integrated Cancer Centre – a centre of excellence. From the beginning both patients and staff were engaged in discussions involving the design approach of the building; focusing on how to improve the hospital experience, making it a better place for staff, patients and their families. “The visionaries behind Lifehouse took patient-centred care very seriously – a key driver for the design of the facility achieving new paradigms” said Ronald Hicks, Director of Health + Research at HDR | Rice Daubney.
Hicks said “We spent a lot of time in terms of the vertical arrangement, of the various activities within the building - to try and make the patient journey as natural and comfortable as possible”.
From the point of arrival, meet and greet, provision of discrete parking, emphasis on waiting areas, and intuitive wayfinding, HDR |Rice Daubney worked hard to create a design that supported a positive patient environment addressing the issues of patient privacy and discretion.
A non-denominational ‘Reflection Space’ provides a private and discrete place for patients and their families to help them respond to their diagnosis.
Chemotherapy suite bays are partially open and partially private to allow for communication between staff and fellow patients. Patient bedrooms are private single rooms relating to a hotel-style environment and are located on the top two floors of the building boasting direct access to private external courtyard gardens that maximise views to the outdoor environment. They provide a specific private integration space for family.
HDR | Rice Daubney researched many international buildings of which openness and light became a key influence for the design of Lifehouse. The most innovative architectural element within Lifehouse is the central atrium driving filtered, patterned light through the core of the building providing a real balance between adjacent to patient treatment spaces. Sunken courtyards and healing gardens on the inpatient floors also provide natural light, ventilation and opportunities for patients, carers and staff to interact with the outdoors.
Evidence-based complimentary and parallel therapies and non-clinical space accommodating non-clinical healing recognises the diverse and spiritual needs of patients. Lifehouse ‘Living Room’ represents a nonclinical environment space where patients can interact with each other allowing autonomy and identity. The space is ‘clinician free zone’– a concept based on the international study undertaken by HDR | Rice Daubney and their client. Additionally, the ‘Wellness Centre’ is a purpose-built integrated medicine centre providing support services, education and complementary therapy treatments that can be used in parallel with clinical care to help relieve stress, reduce pain and anxiety and manage symptoms.
HDR | Rice Daubney provided an intelligent architectural response to complex spaces and facilities, meeting all functional and technological conditions for effective patient care. Furthermore, the facility supports Lifehouse staff to fulfil their unique and uncompromising offer of service to patients and their families – a fully integrated patient journey under one roof.
“In the design sense, they (HDR | Rice Daubney) nailed it” said Associate Professor Chris Milross. The vision is now fulfilled with patients and people occupying the space.
The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse was a very special project for HDR |Rice Daubney. It touched the lives of all who were involved evoking a unique response in the design, and a direction well beyond pragmatism.
hdr-logoFor more information visit www.ricedaubney.com.au

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