With a personal touch...

Friday 06 May 2011

Through donations led by Teenage Cancer Trust, a successful cancer care unit has opened in Wales

Located between paediatric and adult oncology, The Skypad, the first facility of its kind in Wales, provides a centre of clinical excellence for inpatient and outpatient cancer care for young people. The Skypad integrates with local hospitals and trusts to ensure all patients across Wales are treated properly within the NHS.

Funded entirely through fund raising and donations led by Teenage Cancer Trust the unit provides innovation in patient experience and provides a non institutional environment which is more akin to a boutique hotel than hospital. The building has been designed in collaboration with patients, clinicians, nursing staff and the community. The building achieved an Excellent Neat Rating.

The unit has been designed in conjunction with patients, families and clinical staff to provide as much personal control as possible e.g. lighting, heating and cooling, access to music, tv and internet. The patient can also choose to be on their own by closing one or both sets of curtains.

In order to encourage patients from their bed areas there are a number of social spaces to read, chill out or watch a film together. Again this provides a variety of choice and flexibility on how their day can be structured.

There are a variety of bed areas including a single room that incorporates a bed hoist from the bed to the bathroom. The single room incorporates all of the features of the 3 bed bays. Access to the social space is via a lift or stair. The top floor is an open plan space that can be used flexibly but encourages patients to mix, have family and friends to visit or just make some lunch.

The palette of materials and colour are intentionally soothing and were chosen after close consultation with the patients. Stimulating graphics of woodland/landscape and even major worldwide cities provide a distraction and escapism.

‘‘As soon as I arrived, I loved it. I had a flat screen TV by my bed. Upstairs, there was a  social room with a pool table, juke box, laptops, games, which have given me something to get up for. And the staff used to bring in the popcorn and we'd watch DVD's together''.

Hannah Williams, 20 years old

‘‘it doesn't feel like being in hospital. It's more flexible here and you don't have babies crying through the night. It also makes having treatment a lot easier as I'm not focusing on the treatment - there's other things happening and I can ignore it''.

Tom Dimond, 15 years old.

"The unit looks a bit like a hotel or a common room, but works like a hospital. We can still do our job effectively, and at the same time we are working with youngsters who are in a better frame of mind to put positive energy into getting through their treatment and getting better. It's a much more relaxed and pleasant environment for all of us, and that lifts everyone's morale."

Laura Clark, Lead Nurse of Skypad Unit

Key Facts:

United Kingdom

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team