Royal at heart

Monday, 08 October, 2018

Royal at heart

The emotional and physical needs of patients, their loved ones and carers are at the heart of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, driving its creation from conception right through to construction.

The 800-bed Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) is South Australia’s flagship hospital, providing care to an estimated 85,000 inpatients and 400,000 outpatients each year.

The hospital spans the equivalent of three city blocks, including almost four hectares of landscaped parks and internal green space, with over 70 courtyards, terraces and sky gardens.

A strong focus on natural light and environment combine with 100% single overnight patient rooms to create the best possible healing environment with greater levels of privacy, comfort and infection control.

Seamless patient experience

Several entry points into the hospital allow more patients to bypass the Emergency Department (ED) and be admitted directly into the service they need, such as cardiology or mental health.

The hospital’s design also ensures patients flow seamlessly through the hospital once admitted, with related services located in close proximity. On the hospital’s western side, for example, the ED is positioned below critical areas on other floors, such as pathology and blood transfusion, trauma and emergency theatres, the intensive care unit and the helipad.

Each area is connected by ‘hot lifts’, enabling these services to be reached in under two minutes.

Clinical technology leaders

The RAH is one of Australia’s most technologically advanced healthcare facilities, integrating the latest innovations across health, education and research to deliver high-quality care.

The state-of-the-art facilities appeal to healthcare professionals, helping to attract some of the best expertise from around the world.

The RAH is home to one of the biggest automated pharmacy distribution systems in the nation, and includes more than 80 automated dispensing cabinets in patient wings to support the accurate and timely distribution of medicines.

Telehealth facilities enable staff to consult with colleagues and patients in regional and remote areas across the state and further afield, while digital imaging technology allows clinical images to be streamed live from operating theatres and procedural rooms for diagnostic and training purposes.

The hospital features the largest automated microbiology system in the Southern Hemisphere, supporting the timely diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases.

The RAH is also the state’s only public hospital to roll out a digital instrument tracking system to manage its vast collection of medical equipment.

Complex clinical care provided

The RAH is a ‘super site’ for major emergencies in South Australia, such as heart attacks and stroke, and serves as the complex multitrauma destination for the state.

There is a 24-hour on-site stroke team, a 24-hour on-call service for acute coronary syndrome and 24-hour diagnostic and imaging services.

It is the statewide centre for critical services such as complex cancers and bone marrow transplants, craniomaxillofacial surgery, neurosurgery and cardiothoracic services, with a focus on complex thoracic surgical cases.

The RAH also offers a specialist acute spinal and brain injury rehabilitation service. Other key statewide services provided include renal transplantation, hyperbaric medicine, and complex vascular medicine and surgery.

Equipped to handle disasters

The ED is equipped to respond to major disasters, such as a chemical spill, with decontamination showers enabling mass decontamination, Five negative pressure rooms and a quarantine room will meanwhile be crucial in the event of an infectious outbreak.

The quarantine room is designed to the standards required to support patients with highly infectious diseases such as Ebola and can be segregated from the rest of the ED.

The hospital has been designed with flexibility to convert specific spaces into additional clinical areas in the event of a mass casualty disaster such as a plane crash.

The RAH is also engineered to withstand major earthquakes and extreme weather events and can continue to operate for 48 hours if completely cut off from outside services such as water and power.

Sustainable design

The RAH has been awarded a 4 Star Green Star – Healthcare Design v1 rating, making it the largest and most technically complex Green Star project in Australia. The rating, from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), formally recognises the hospital for its commitment to environmentally sustainable design and building practices.

Captured and recycled water is used for such things as toilet flushing and irrigation to offset the water used for drinking, cooking and personal bathing. In addition, high-efficiency water fittings have been incorporated throughout the facility.

All images ©Meg Hanson Photography

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