Promoting Health and Wellness at a Destination Cancer Care Center
A typical cancer patient will visit their cancer care center more than 100 times during the course of treatment. As we began to design the ambulatory UW Cancer Center at ProHealth Care — which symbolizes a new, community-driven partnership between ProHealth, Aurora Health Care, and University of Wisconsin (UW) Health — that figure was fresh in our minds. Knowing how much time patients would spend in this new space, we took the time to truly understand their needs.
Form Follows Experience: Patients & Staff Serve as Top Advisors
As part of Patient Advisory teams, cancer survivors, current patients, and family members were treated as empowered informants of the healing environment, giving our design team input on aspects of experience that are most important. We also reimagined care experiences with a whole person health team comprised of staff that spend a majority of their time with patients.
These collaborations led to several planning solutions, including:
- Development of infusion areas that offer patients control over their environment including:
- Varying levels of privacy including private rooms, semi-enclosed bays, or small clusters.
- Daybeds, recliners or beds
- Individual control over daylight and electronic media.
- Access to fresh air via operable windows
- Ability to go outside to a private garden directly from the infusion area.
- Ubiquitous day-light throughout the Center.
- Access to numerous outdoor gardens from every level including private staff patios adjacent to every staff lounge.
- “Multi-Disciplinary Day suites” with adjoined exam and consultation spaces supporting consecutive appointments with specialists, allowing patients to stay in one place for a significant portion of their visit.
- Appropriate, highly-accessible space for rehabilitation facilities, encouraging both prehab and rehabilitation activities.
Creating Space for Discovery & Reflection
Knowing that many patients who come to the cancer center will return many times, we integrated moments of discovery and spaces for reflection into the design and architecture of the space so each visit would hold the promise of a slightly different experience. These include:
- A large feature wall that connects two sides of the building and changes colors as people pass
- Opportunities for both patients and staff to experience nature through an infusion/healing garden, a tranquil pond, and pedestrian-friendly walkways
- Use of interesting materials and finishes that appear differently depending on the time of day and angle at which they are viewed
- Skylights augmented with artificial/hanging lights to draw people’s eyes into different areas of the facility
Deriving Inspiration from Local Heritage & Landscape
Residing near the site of a historic hot springs and spa, the cancer center embraces the natural beauty of the surrounding area, recognizing the important role the local landscape plays in the healing experience.
- Locally-sourced Lannon stone wraps the exterior of the building and is used to mark major public spaces inside
- Warm natural colors used throughout the space create a tranquil atmosphere, while color palettes inspired by various regional landscapes delineate different clinical areas