Described as an oasis of hope and health, the St Charles Bend Cancer Centre is a true testament to patient-centric healthcare design.
A clear demonstration of effective healthcare design, the new St Charles Bend Cancer Centre in Oregon, USA, is a relaxing and peaceful place of healing with open, light spaces, extensive views and a meticulously programmed interior.
Designed by ZGF Architects LLP, with the use of Lean tools and methods that enhance caregiver productivity and increase patient satisfaction, this world-class cancer centre was named as the winner of the WAN Healthcare Award for 2015.
Previously the medical oncology unit was situated just over 1,5km from the radiation oncology services unit at the main hospital, meaning that patients had to shuttle between the two venues. Now the new Cancer Centre is located on a former irrigation pond adjacent to the existing radiation oncology department, with a new clinic entry that blends the two buildings together.
Clinical yet welcoming
The architects drew inspiration from the beautiful surrounding landscape of Central Oregon’s desert and mountain vistas, and integrated a healing garden with the existing hospital. Patients have the opportunity to receive treatment here when the weather permits, in a setting where their morale can be lifted by sunshine, fresh air and mountain views.
The garden’s centrepiece is a recirculating water feature, thoughtfully retained from the former irrigation pond. It also has a meandering path where patients and visitors can take walks amidst the calming sights and sounds of water. The outside setting also supports physical therapy with a variety of walking surfaces, gradients and steps of varying heights to improve patient mobility.
Inside, although it is firstly a clinical setting, the designers used a soothing colour palette and warm wood tones to create a relaxing, spa-like feel. Carefully selected artwork and photography that depict the natural scenery of the surrounding landscape also contribute to the healing process. For example, upon entering, visitors are greeted by a tiled, triptych mural by a local artist depicting the mountainous landscape.
The first floor houses a double-height lobby, staff offices, and outpatient exam and consultation rooms. From the lobby, the main conference room one floor above is highlighted. Encased with glass walls, this multi-use room offers a clear view of the centre’s wellness activities, which include yoga, tai chi and other active therapies proven to enhance healing.
An outdoor deck off the infusion room cantilevers over the healing garden, giving staff and patients a sunny porch where they can relax.
Patients contributed to the design and layout of the second floor, where longer-stay patients receive infusion and treatment services. The result was a large, light-filled, open-plan infusion room, fronted by floor-to-ceiling windows that provide some of the best panoramic views of Central Oregon’s high desert. In addition, there are six semi-private bays and a private enclosed room.
Responding to a question about what made this project so effective, Mike Rawlinson, estates and building projects manager at Spire Healthcare, said: “This brilliantly answers the brief and the requirements for treating cancer patients, and has the ability of being replicated in other situations in the sense that you could almost pick it up and use it for a cancer patient in the United Kingdom (UK), in the United States of America (USA), anywhere.”
Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to World Architecture News and ZGF Architects LLP for the information provided to write this article.
– Open, light spaces.
– Extensive views.
– Artwork and photography of surrounding landscape.
– Soothing colour palette.
– Warm wood tones.
– Wellness activities.
– Option of privacy.
– Natural light and air.
– Water features that stimulate the senses.
– Walkways for patient mobility.
– Physical therapy support.
– Variety of surfaces and gradients.