The healthcare industry is changing so quickly that a new standard of care for each department has come to light. For cancer treatments this new standard of care is no different. To ensure new chemotherapy/infusion spaces remain useful, healthcare designers may approach a new cancer center design differently. For example, the first collaboration between Mary Frazier and Suzen Heeley, MSK Westchester in West Harrison, N.Y., launched a 9-year partnership and inspired design that has set a new standard for cancer center design.
When planning Westchester, the collaborative duo recognized that chemotherapy was changing and unknowns existed on how treatment might be delivered in years to come. It’s very likely that it will all be done at home. To ensure chemotherapy/infusion spaces would remain useful, they were—and continue to be—built using demountable partitions. Additionally, a single room module of 120 square feet for both exam/consult rooms and offices, first introduced at Westchester, is now the norm to allow easy reassignment of space in the future.
Chairs with Arms
Care environments have also evolved to answer the needs of today’s cancer patients and treatment protocols. Patients in the ambulatory environment are much more acute than they’ve ever been. Waiting spaces need to be able to accommodate several wheelchairs at once. Along the same lines, seats must have arms to assist patients as they sit and stand.
Frazier and Heeley created a shell space to support an emerging “tele-triage” program, allowing patients who have concerns in off-hours to call into a clinician who can direct them to an appropriate next step for care.
Clinical Trial Space
Personalized medicine—treating a person’s genetic makeup rather than simply the disease. That said, clinical trial spaces are included in some of these ambulatory care facilities. Clinical IT components are beefed up to track the data collected which means a data center was built to support it.
All of the original elements Heeley and Frazier introduced on MSK Westchester continue to be delivered today. Ultimately the goal of improving the patient experience, particularly in clinical spaces was achieved. It’s striking a balance between providing a space where clinicians have everything they need and creating a non-threatening environment.
If this is something that interested you check out To Renovate Or Build Brand New? Shared Vision From David A. Deis, AIA, LEED AP, & Matthew Chalifoux, FAIA, A New Kind of Clinic, and Uplifting Design
Marie Wikoff is the creator of Wikoff Design Studio based out of Reno, Nevada. Her expertise in healthcare design has helped modernize healthcare organizations locally, regionally, and internationally, improving patient experience and outcomes. Her credentials include Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC), American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designer (CHID), the National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) and LEED AP. Contact Marie Wikoff