Nov 01, 2018
The Emergency Department at St Thomas’ Hospital, which sees around 150,000 attendances per year, has been officially opened this week by HRH The Princess Royal after being completely rebuilt.
We supported the radical redevelopment, which has transformed patient care through welcoming new facilities and a better use of existing ones. There is now a dedicated Emergency Floor that brings together emergency services in a single area of the hospital, and the redevelopment has also increased the size of the A&E department and expanded the Urgent Care Centre.
The works, which happened while the emergency services remained open as normal, 24/7, have brought in big changes to patients and staff. The time it takes to admit patients has been reduced from 30 down to five minutes by moving the admissions ward to the ground floor. Meanwhile, the construction of a dedicated children’s emergency department and children’s short-stay unit, part of Evelina London Children’s Hospital, means that they can be treated in a separate area from adult patients.
Design features play a major role in the new Emergency Floor. Along with bigger treatment cubicles and better infection control, the new Floor has made use of best practice in hospital design to create a unique environment.
We supported the innovative design approach by funding an award-winning programme of arts and technology to transform the experience of adults and children attending A&E.
A colourful design developed with art consultants, Art in Site, features a “family” of illustrated characters who act as friendly guides around the hospital. The family also come to life in an interactive app, playable on site, which helps to demystify the emergency process through interactive animations explaining clinical procedures, including blood tests, injections, and pulse measurements.
“Visiting an emergency department can be a frightening and intimidating experience for patients, especially children so having their own unit is very important”, said Dr John Criddle, consultant in paediatric emergency medicine at Evelina London. “The art project and app are also great opportunities for us to help create a more relaxed and fun environment.”
The collaboration between consultants Art in Site and architect ADP blends art, interior design and information together to bring better patient flow, orientation and a calming atmosphere – helping to reduce violence and aggression. This is based on insights from the Design Councilpublication Reducing violence & aggression in A&E: Through a better experience, which sought to improve the experiences of both patients and staff in emergency care.