The Alfred is home to one of Australia's largest and busiest Emergency and Trauma Centres. This transformative upgrade project expands The Alfred’s services and strengthens its reputation as a leader in emergency and trauma care. It involved transforming a 19,580 square-foot space (originally constructed in the 1970s and used as a respiratory medicine clinic for more than a decade) into a 21st century, patient-centred health facility for the treatment and recovery of trauma patients.
The design response is extremely patient-centric thanks to early and widespread stakeholder engagement, which drew on expertise from service directors, nursing staff, occupational therapists and consumer advocate groups amongst others. This gave designers an invaluable insight into the unique requirements of trauma care settings and helped them create a design that improves support for patients, families and staff in multiple ways, from better-connected, more efficient layouts to staff facilities that provide much-needed respite in a high-pressure setting. The result is a healing environment where patients and families say they appreciate the dignity the design creates and staff report a strong sense of pride in their transformed environment.
Previously, corridors and internal spaces had limited access to natural light, making navigating the ward difficult for busy staff and patients or families requiring assistance. The re-designed 40-bed facility creates a bright, welcoming environment in which to recover, visit and work. Greater connection to natural light and improved visibility and connectivity are central to the design, which also supports greater levels of multi-disciplinary collaboration by providing connection points where staff from a range of disciplines can collaborate. In-patient bedroom doors are fully glazed, creating constant visual connectivity between staff and their vulnerable patients. Spaces connecting bedrooms and clinical support areas incorporate welcoming seating that encourages patients to move around as appropriate, contributing to accelerated recovery on the ward.
Sustainable waste management is often overlooked in hospital design, but an innovative strategy developed for the new in-patient unit helps to position The Alfred as a leader in sustainability. Adequate waste separation at the point of use requires a lot of space and must be allowed for in layouts. Separation of waste in multiple bin types is now available at all wash basins, utility centres, beverage bays and collaboration spaces.
Health Partner at ClarkeHopkinsClarke Architects, Justin Littlefield, says the impact of the design has been as widespread as the stakeholder engagement that shaped it. “Staff say they’re proud of the re-designed environment and that it helps them better support patients through more efficient and connected layout and improved workflows,” he says. “They appreciate the dedicated stafffacilities, which they say give them a sense of respite from the ever-changing pressures that are part and parcel of working in trauma and emergency. Patients and their families appreciate the dignity and sense of healing the new environment achieves.”
What was the brief?
The brief was to help The Alfred expand its services and bolster its leadership in emergency and trauma care by transforming a 19,580 square-foot space constructed in the 1970s (used most recently for respiratory medicine)to deliver trauma-specific inpatient services with optimal efficiencies and economies. This involved relocating out-patient services, introducing a dedicated rehabilitation therapy room and ADL kitchen, improving procedural spacesand carefully staging complex works to ensure minimal disruption to surrounding wards and services.
What were the key challenges?
Senior Project Leader Joe Bolger says that aside from the exceptionally tight 5-month design and documentation timeline, the project presented logistical challenges. “The new ward had to be designed and delivered with minimal interruption to a busy operational campus,” he says. “So major works that allowed us to expand the space, such as the relocation and consolidation of large sewer stacks, had to be coordinated carefully using a complex staging program so we could avoid disrupting lower floors.”
What materials did you choose and why?
Materials in healthcare environments need to be exceptionally durable, easy to clean and anti-microbial to support infection control and withstand high use and high impact from the movement of beds, trolleys and other equipment. Materials are consistent with Alfred Health’smaterials guide and feature a neutral base palette andcolour and inlays in flooring to signify key areas: grey for staff-only areas, green for shared patient/staff spaces, neutral and calming for bedrooms. The design responded to a rigid grid established by existing structural columns byopening upthese key corners, introducing curves in staff collaboration hubs that accommodate both standing and seated working, and in patient/family/staff respite spaces. Solid Surface CASF Corian was central to forming these sculptural elements. In addition, curves in the flooring created movement and flow.
Material Used :
1. Flooring: Resilient Flooring, iQ Eminent Vinyl ‘Colours; light grey, medium grey, dark grey’ ‘IQ Optima – green’, Tarkett
2. Reception Staff Hubs Joinery: Solid Surface, Corian, Colour ‘Everest’,
3. Impact Resistant Wall Protection/Lining: Whiterock rigid PVCu Cladding, Altro
4. Glazing Graphics: Vision Effects Film: design by CHC, Print/ Install by Tint Design
5. Ceiling Feature: VoglFuge Perforated Acoustic Plaster Ceiling, Atkar
6. Acoustic Wall Lining: Cube semi-rigid panel,Colours‘Flatiron, Empire, Fallingwater’, Autex
Interior lighting: Surface Mounted Light, Cloche Pendant, ISM Objects
- Linear Continuous LED Lighting, KILK 85, Klik Systems
- Round Wall Light, Mun 180dia white, Inlite
- Suspended Timber Linear Light, Truss 956 Timber, Bluelab
- Curved Led Linear Light (shape around ceiling over staff station), LED Curved ‘Acroflex-Edge’, M-Light