What does the hospital of the future look like?

New build

The Ottawa Hospital hasn’t started planning its new campus in detail yet. But, we do have an idea of what a 21st-century health care facility could look like.

The hospital of the future is a community space, embedded into surrounding neighbourhoods. It’s laced with and surrounded by nature and greenery. Dedicated to health promotion and wellness alongside health care and healing, it’s a place where cutting-edge science drives learning and discovery.

Inside, the facility’s design will be modern and accessible, based on scientific evidence. It will improve patient flow and access to treatments, and reduce hospital stays, infection spread, stress, staff injuries, and the need for pain medication.

Single-patient rooms with private washrooms reduce the spread of infection, and ceiling lifts reduce staff and patient injuries. Nursing sub-stations allow nurses to take fewer steps and spend more time on patient care. Hallways and elevators separated from public areas move patients more efficiently.

Research has found that experiencing nature is directly associated with improved mental health, so wellness areas around the hospital are vital. While inside there might be large, sun-filled windows, outside the buildings at the hospital of the future, staff, as well as patients and their loved ones, should have access to naturalized areas, gardens, terraces and walkways.

The new campus will be engineered into an eco-friendly, sustainable health-care centre that meets the highest environmental standards. The carbon footprint will be minimal, water will be conserved and building services will be energy efficient. Access to the campus will be supported by the city’s light-rail and bus transit systems, and walking and biking will reduce the number of staff members and visitors who drive.

Decisions about important issues like how the green space looks, or what form the parking structures at the campus take, will be made through an open and transparent discussion with the hospital’s community.

In the spring, the hospital asked independent specialists to conduct research and report back on how best to engage with the community and patients. Their report will outline a meaningful, inclusive and transparent engagement approach and a comprehensive view of key stakeholders and issues. It will be released this fall and will provide the basis for the hospital to plan its engagement strategy in detail.

This is the vision that will guide the planning and construction of a new campus for The Ottawa Hospital. Building a new hospital isn’t just about bricks and mortar – it’s also about community collaboration and ambition.