Have you heard that the new Hospital in Moose Jaw is opening on October 20th? It’s official name is the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital.
I’ve gotten to personally see much of the creation process, from design to build in my digital film work with Five Hills Health Region. I recently filmed a tour of the new hospital and got to spend some time with Kyle Matthies, FHHR’s VP Corporate Strategy and Communications. I asked him some questions about the new building and the process and posted a video tour of the highlights below -on the FHHR site there are more videos to walk through, showing some of the common paths patients will walk.
After leading the public through tours of the new hospital, what has been most surprising to guests? – Tony
I’d say people were pretty surprised by how spacious the building is in general and in the patient rooms in particular. It was great watching people’s preconceptions dissipate as they toured the building. People talked a lot about how bright the building was which was good to hear since we were so intentional about that in design. People loved the inpatient rooms with the washroom in each, the family area with a couch that flips out into a bed, and of course that they are all single patient rooms. I saw a lot of appreciation for how patient privacy has increased so significantly in this hospital as well. Again it was great to see happy with something we were so intentional about.
I’ve gotten to see a lot of this process, and I know this thing was designed by nurses, patients, doctors, and not just a pile of architects – you’ve gotten to see the whole process – what are some of the huge changes for the better that the design teams have realized in this new space – how does the new hospital compare to the old and compare to the dream? – Tony
Yes – we had over 200 people from the groups you mentioned intimately involved in the design of the building and about 10% of those were Patient and Family Representatives – which is pretty unique. In a conventional project there’s no way we would have had anywhere close to that level of input into the actual shape and feel of the building.
There’s so many ways that the new hospital is better for both patients and staff. The design of the building necessitates way less walking for staff both because of storage of supplies in patient rooms and also having nursing flow stations spread throughout units instead of in one location at the centre of the unit. The operational flow of the building will mean less walking for patients too since many services will come to them in their room instead of having them walk to various areas in the building to access services.
I guess at a high level we had the opportunity to design a hospital that is a cohesive unit unlike the old hospital which was the combination of three separate builds. Designing these services to work smartly together meant we didn’t need as much space as we had in the old building and I think getting the public into the building has helped people see that within the smaller footprint the building is offering much more than we’ve had in the past.
This hospital has flown up seemingly a lot faster than other major construction projects I’ve seen – is that true? How fast was it? -Tony
The project was announced in the summer of 2011 and construction began in May of 2013. The way we formalized the relationship in our project team and brought the major partners in so early in the process allowed us to cut significant time off the building. Our construction partners have said that in a conventional project the design and procurement phase would last typically 3-5 years followed by 2 years of construction. Because of how we brought in our major partners so early in the process we were able to knock off somewhere around a couple of years off the process.