New $9.5m day oncology centre opens at South Eastern Private

Monday, 19 April, 2021

New $9.5m day oncology centre opens at South Eastern Private

Creating a space where patients could comfortably spend time receiving treatment was central to the design ethos of the new $9.5 million day oncology centre at South Eastern Private in Melbourne.

The state-of-the-art centre, which opened to its first patients in late January 2021, promotes an abundance of natural light, offers views from treatment areas and modern family break-out spaces for visits from loved ones, along with dedicated research areas.

A new front entry, cafe, gym, specialist consulting wing and 14 single-bed rehabilitation rooms were also included as part of the redevelopment of the Healthe Care-operated facility in Noble Park, bolstering the services offered by the 164-bed private hospital.

Healthe Care Executive General Manager (Victoria) of Specialty Hospitals Andrew Blyth said the project further develops a sense of place and identity for South Eastern Private and aligns with the hospital’s focus on providing holistic treatment for cancer patients.

The additions have made South Eastern Private the most comprehensive oncology hospital in the south-eastern Melbourne metro region, supported by significant surrounding infrastructure, increasing its capacity for day chemotherapy treatments by approximately 30%.

“South Eastern Private has been providing oncology services for more than two decades, with a long and proud history in the community. This redevelopment further advances our service while bringing our facility into a new and exciting era,” Blyth said.

“Modern health care identifies three key components to cancer treatment and recovery — medical intervention, including chemotherapy, mental health support and ongoing physical activity and rehabilitation — and we are the only hospital in the region to offer all three under one roof.

“This means we not only provide the medication patients need to get better, but support through each of the stages, including mental health and rehabilitation services that are often a significant part of the recovery journey.”

Blyth said the redevelopment was undertaken with the patient experience front and centre.

“We understand the impact the surrounding environment has on a patient’s journey, which is why getting the design right was so vital,” he said.

“Natural light, views, a place to spend time with family and friends and a feeling of welcome as people walk through the door — all of these are so important to our patients, many of who spend hours here for weeks, months or sometimes years at a time.”

Natural light, views and a place to spend time with family and friends were important design considerations. Credit: Evan Sycamnias, Pixelife Studio.

Credit: Evan Sycamnias, Pixelife Studio.

Designed by specialist healthcare and aged-care architect HSPC Health Architects and built by Melbourne-based commercial construction company Kingdom Projects, the redevelopment is the second stage of a 10-year masterplan for the site.

The first phase, completed in 2016, included a new 60-bed mental health ward and new consulting suites along with the addition of electroconvulsive therapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment services.

Detailed design for the new stage commenced in mid-2019 and, along with the addition of the new state-of-the-art oncology outpatient centre and entry, aimed to promote new connections with the hospital’s modern hydrotherapy pool and physical rehabilitation service.

South Eastern Private’s hydrotherapy pool. Credit: Evan Sycamnias, Pixelife Studio.

HSPC Health Architects lead designer Askolds Petersons said he seized the opportunity to develop a new focal point for South Eastern Private, reinterpreting the existing rectilinear and panelised building form and injecting a fresh palette to create a vibrant environment for patients.

“We believe materiality and architectural detail should form a language that is meaningful and coherent with respect to its function and relationship with its immediate receiving environment,” Petersons said.

“In this case, we considered the adjoining hydrotherapy pool designed by HSPC Health Architects some years ago and ensured the new corten steel facade, panelisation, face brickwork and standing seem cladding complemented the existing simple and uncomplicated medical planning and interiors.”

The building’s exterior complements the uncomplicated and functional interior. Credit: Niki Schuch, Niki Photography.

Blyth said the design creates a welcoming experience for patients, while also allowing South Eastern Private to further expand its services.

The new 300 m2 day oncology centre offers 18 chairs, an increase from the existing 12, allowing it to service about 700 chemotherapy visits per month, up from about 500.

The centre will continue to treat a broad spectrum of cancers, including blood disorders, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Credit: Evan Sycamnias, Pixelife Studio.

“We have specialist rehabilitation programs to support the work of our oncologists and haematologists, including a lymphoedema clinic and a specialised prostate rehabilitation program,” Blyth explained.

These specialised programs are supported by access to a wide range of allied health professionals including physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, occupational therapists, psychologists and dietitians.

The expansion at South Eastern Private is part of a $10.5 million investment into Healthe Care’s hospitals in Victoria, with its sister hospital, Brunswick Private, also undergoing a $1 million redevelopment, which saw a new 30-bed mental health ward opened last February.

Healthe Care’s Specialty Hospitals and Services Group is one of the largest private mental health and rehabilitation providers in Australia, with standalone and integrated mental health and rehabilitation/medical hospitals, along with a community services business. The portfolio comprises 16 private hospitals and community services in Australia’s major cities and key regional areas, with over 900 mental health beds, 500 rehabilitation/medical beds and a range of outpatient and day programs.

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