Designed on the basis of the latest insights into the Healing Environment conceptView the entire project
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The interior of the new medical centre in Rotterdam is designed to create an optimal Healing Environment: a setting that maximizes wellbeing and minimizes stress levels for patients, staff and visitors. The Erasmus MC is organized in such a way that the busiest areas, such as shops, outpatient clinics and emergency care unit, are grouped on the lower floors, while the nursing units, where patients remain longest, enjoy the calmness of the upper floors. There they can also make use of the unique bed-access roof garden. The medical complex is designed as an easy-to-use mini-city, with streets, alleys, squares and gardens that have real names, like Sophia Square, Passage, Arcade, Court and Conservatory. Uncluttered routes are kept as short as possible thanks to entrances on all sides of the building and clear signposting.
Upon entering the hospital, patients and visitors are helped step by step to understand how the complex is organized. A central axis connects threads the various volumes to one another logically and smoothens the transition to the existing building. A welcoming and well-defined central interior street features clear signposting and striking anchor points such as timber reception desks and monumental artworks, spacious and striking openings for daylight in the roof and facades, and a host of zones for sitting, gathering and working.
Once inside the hospital, visitors are pleasantly surprised by the plentiful greenery along the central axis and in the atriums. A pleasant and calming atmosphere prevails here thanks to the use of colour, the bamboo seating elements and the meeting places defined by greenery. The green seating area, designed with plants and bamboo, is located at Sophia Square. Patients can come here if they want to leave their room for a change of scenery or spend time with their family. Typically tough Rotterdam materials such as stone and weathering steel have been deployed along the axis from Sophia Square through the Passage to the Arcade. Colours vary from broken white to warm-grey.
The lifts are indicated by large steel frames that act as entrance portals to the different units, where soft green reception desks detailed in bamboo and featuring rounded shapes offer a warm welcome.
Atriums and sunken patios draw natural light deep into the basement. As a result, patients, doctors and support staff enjoy a natural environment that is not oppressive and that noticeably enhances wellbeing. The publicly accessible atriums are enlivened with greenery and seats that offer welcome distraction and tranquillity while patients are ‘out and about’ or visitors are waiting. The interplay of daylight and greenery, in combination with the warm tones of the timber in the furniture, creates clarity, calmness and a mood of welcome domesticity.
Long sightlines, daylight-filled waiting areas close to the exterior wall, and clearly marked routes on the floor create a sense of calm, structure and ease for patients in the outpatient clinics. These elements reduce stress, thereby making a crucial contribution to patient wellbeing. The privacy in the centrally located consultation and treatment rooms helps the patient to feel comfortable and creates a pleasant work environment for personnel.
Waiting areas, day care centre and patient lounges are enlivened with customized and specially photographed images of nature that capture the Dutch seasons. Together with the SkyCeilings and SkyLights in the radiation treatment rooms, the accident and emergency unit and the intensive care department, they have a soothing and stress-reducing effect that ultimately leads to a more pleasant and rapid recovery.
The Healing Environment concept has been consistently applied throughout the interior and exterior of the hospital, and is perhaps most prominent in the patient rooms. Just like daylight, greenery and pleasant diversion, privacy and autonomy are very important aspects of the Healing Environment for the patient. A pastel-tinted wall, timber window frames and specially designed furniture and curtains create a warm domestic feel.
To improve privacy and autonomy, the Erasmus MC opted for single-bed patient rooms only in the new hospital. Each patient has his own space, where he can spend time alone or receive close relatives. Conversations with family members and doctors can take place here in privacy. Direct daylight and views of the outdoors allow the patient to experience the rhythm of the day. The patient has control of what happens in the room and can decide for himself whether to watch television, close the curtains or open a window. Lighting, solar shading and temperature can all be adjusted with a personal tablet. All patient rooms also have their own sanitary space and a specially designed storage unit for both nursing items and the patient’s belongings. This item of furniture is deliberately kept low so that the patient can see the door. Together with the views of the city, the port or the roof terrace, this enhances the sense of control, self-sufficiency and independence, thereby making a positive contribution to the recovery process.
Each patient room contains Rooming In, a furniture object specially designed by EGM Interior in co-creation with furniture manufacturer Ahrend. This innovative seat-cum-bed can be transformed in no time and offers relatives a chance to relax in the room during the daytime, eat lunch with the patient, and to spend the night comfortably. This also significantly contributes to improving the care and wellbeing of the patient.