Patients' needs at very heart of design for new hospice

Architects unveil plans for new home for The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice, Glasgow

The new purpose-built facility is due to open in 2018

Understanding that the quality of the environment is crucial to a patient’s wellbeing has been at the very centre of plans to design a new home for The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice.

The facility will revolutionise the future of palliative care, not only in Scotland, but around the world.

It’s all about constantly asking how we give a patient choice. We make buildings for people - everything is about people

“The surroundings play a vital role in improving a patient’s symptoms because, if you have an anxiety, that can often heighten a patient’s physical pain,” said Rhona Baillie, chief executive of The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice and a former palliative care nurse.

“If we can help to control that anxiety and make the patient feel more relaxed, in an environment they are very comfortable in, then that can help their overall physical state.”

Work recently began on the new development on a green site in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow.

Once complete, it will be the first hospice in Scotland to transition young people to adult hospice care from children’s services.

The building will accommodate young people, their friends and families, without disturbing older patients on the existing ward.

Baillie said: “After more than 30 years of adapting and adjusting, while continuing to offer recognised gold-standard care in our current home, we need a new building in which to look after our patients and their families, and in doing so we will become a world leader in the most-advanced techniques in hospice, palliative and end-of-life care.”

She was so determined to realise a building centred on the needs of patients and their families, understanding that every patient needs privacy, dignity and comfort while having choice over such things as deciding when to eat, when to be alone, or when to mix with other patients.

The final design was the brainchild of Alastair Forbes, architectural director at Ryder Architecture.

He said: “It was important for me to spend some time in an inpatient bed to understand what patients really experience.

“To capture that moment, I took a photograph of what the view beyond the bed is.

“It’s all the important things that you can’t represent that matter: how much the ceiling is in view, how much a patient doesn’t see out of the window, the smells, the noises, and the proximity to other patients and staff.

“That has been a real touchstone throughout the whole process. It’s all about going back to that photo and constantly asking how we give a patient choice. We make buildings for people - everything is about people.”

Everybody says the hospice is the last stop before the terminus, but it taught me how to live, not how to die

The design team’s research uncovered St Olav’s Hospital in Trondheim, Norway, where the Sengetun model of care was pioneered based on ‘placemaking’.

This innovative state-of-the-art design puts patients and families at the centre of the planning process and provides space for privacy, dignity and compassionate care. It is based on research that shows how the aesthetic design of a healthcare facility can have a positive impact on patient wellbeing.

Bill Darroch, 76, of Croftfoot, Glasgow, was a day service patient at the hospice for two years after surgery and chemotherapy to treat cancer. In that time he and his wife Cathie would visit the hospice twice a week.

He said: “I don’t think we could have managed without the hospice. I was really down and if it hadn’t been for the hospice, I don’t know what would have happened.

“It helps families as well. It’s not just there for the person who is ill.

“Everybody says the hospice is the last stop before the terminus, but it taught me how to live, not how to die.”

The new hospice is expected to open in 2018.

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