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Hospital extension for care of the elderly has comforting domestic feel

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The Burwood Hospital Extension is a leading light for rehabilitation and care of the elderly that lets patients rehabilitate without stress

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The Burwood Hospital Extension takes a fresh approach to older persons' healthcare – the overall emphasis is on non-daunting rehabilitation wards and break-out spaces that reflect a warm domestic feel over a potentially daunting hospital look.

The project was undertaken by Jasmax, Klein and Sheppard & Rout in association. Klein led the initial masterplanning and concept design with Jasmax taking the lead consultant role as the project moved into preliminary design. Klein was responsible for health planning and the building interior fitouts for clinical areas and wards. Jasmax was responsible for the base building architecture, landscape architecture and the administration office fit-out. Sheppard & Rout undertook the front of house and café fitouts, the back-of house building, links and interface areas. The practices worked collaboratively as a joint interior design team, ensuring consistency of design across the project.

David Meates, chief executive of the Canterbury and West Coast District Health Boards, says broad aims for the expansion were the consolidation of facilities for older persons' health in state-of-the-art facilities and replacing outdated hospital facilities elsewhere in Christchurch.

"We also aimed to future-proof healthcare services in Canterbury against predicted increases in our elderly population over the next 20-30 years, in a region that already has one of the highest proportions of 65+ people in New Zealand.

"Thousands of our community together with clinical teams were involved in the design of the facilities. This ‘human centred' design lens helped shape a facility that is configured to best enable a true rehabilitation focus," says Meates.

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The 29,400m2 extension includes 230 new inpatient beds and an 1100m2 radiology department with provision for future expansion. There's also a 2500m2 outpatient and procedural area as well as a clinical administration and community teams area, a new kitchen and back-of-house support facilities.

Front of house is a soaring, light-filled central atrium complete with information centre, retail and a cafeteria used by staff and patients alike.

Burwood Hospital is a specialist rehabilitation hospital and the inpatient accommodation provides general assessment treatment and rehabilitation wards for older adults; a specialist stroke ward; an adult rehabilitation ward catering for brain injury and under 65 rehabilitation. There are also two psychiatric facilities for the elderly catering for dementia and other mental health conditions.

Felicity Tapper, clinical advisor at Klein, says the new facility offers principals of wellness – light-filled spaces, easy access to outdoors, and a very human or domestic feel that puts elderly patients at their ease while subtly underpinning their rehabilitation.

"For example, there are 24 beds per ward and these are divided into pods of eight – each with its own lounge-like communal space," she says. Plus there are comfortable meeting spaces where patient-doctor conversations can be carried out in a non-daunting way. We aimed to offer a spectrum of spaces."

Putting patients at their ease was important generally and rehabilitation threads seamlessly into this mix. As with the options for social and consultative spaces, there are also built-in options for therapy.

"The patient rooms are mainly one bed or two and are designed to allow a patient to benefit from opportunistic therapy right by their bedside – ideal when exercise is needed but getting around the facility is still all too much. Naturally there are planned therapy spaces as well.

"Aspects like the short walk to the pod lounges or out to the many courtyard spaces are designed to provide a balance of ease and difficulty to help assess patient improvement and capabilities."

Another example of the humanity of the design is that the mental health services are not locked away in a corner of the building. Instead these facilities are integrated with the main inpatient wards – with things like a discreet lockable door on the Mental Health wards, and courtyards that provide a degree of separation without appearing to do so.

In terms of aesthetics, the hospital extension is very much married to the local landscape. The facade reflects the hues of the region's mountains and rivers while, inside, the public spaces are linked to the colours of the Canterbury Plains, including a custom carpet depicting an aerial view of the plains.

And lastly, the private clinical areas take their cues from the local wetlands – think board walks, tussock marshes, even the purples of the Pukeko.

David Meates says the new facilities have been well received by staff, patients and community alike.

"The new main-entry atrium has a considerable wow factor and the clinical areas reflect the input from so many of the patients and clinical teams involved in care of the elderly.

"The response has been remarkable, with everyone saying that this is what we imagined!"

Credit List

ProjectBurwood Hospital
DeveloperMinistry of Health
Project managerProj-X Solutions
ArchitectsJasmax, Klein, Sheppard & Rout in association Health planners and master planning Klein
Landscape architectJasmax
Building contractorLeigh's Cockram Joint Venture
Structural engineers and building servicesBeca
Facade engineerMott MacDonald
Quantity surveyorRider Levett Bucknall
AcousticsMarshall Day
Planning consultantUrbis
RoofingWarm roof – Kingspan and Equus Duotherm; profiled metal roof – Dimond and Dimondek, by Fletchers
CladdingPre-cast concrete panels by Cancast; profiled metal cladding – Dimond and Dimondek; rigid air barrier – Ecoply; timber board cladding – Western red cedar, shiplap profile, finished in Resene Waterborne Woodsman; curtain walls and aluminium joinery by Miller Design; proprietary extruded translucent polycarbonate cladding system – Modulit
External sunscreens/louvresInsol
Acoustic panelsDecortech
DoorsSolid, Hallmark Group; glazed, Millers
HardwareAssa Abloy
FlooringMarmoleum; carpet tiles by Inzide Interface; floor vinyl by Polyflor and Tarkett Grant; Resene Aquapoxy finish and Duracon by Equus
Lightingwe-ef, Energylight and Thorn
LiftsOtis
SignageImages Unlimited Group
Air-con diffusersHolyoake
RadiatorsAquatherm, Variotherm

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