Contract - Designing for Health: The True Family Women’s Cancer Center

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Designing for Health: The True Family Women’s Cancer Center

01 January, 2013

-By Brad Hinthorne, AIA


"Designing for Health" is a monthly, web-exclusive series from the healthcare interior design leaders at Perkins+Will that focuses on the issues, trends, challenges, and research involved in crafting today's healing environments.

The vision for True Family Women’s Cancer Center was inspired by the leadership of the Swedish Cancer Institute over ten years ago.  Among the primary goals outlined at that time were to improve patient outcomes by bringing together leading experts in women’s cancer care and the advanced technology needed to diagnose and treat those cancers, accommodate a perceived need in the market to provide comprehensive cancer services specifically for women, improve patient access by consolidating services that were dispersed in separate locations across multiple Swedish campuses, optimize clinical and operational efficiencies, and generally offer women every possible advantage in their fight against the disease.

The project was conceived as having two primary components: The women’s cancer program, a combination of services that allow cross-disciplinary collaboration; and the center, the physical environment to support and enable those programs and services. Providing multiple resources under one roof not only offers women added convenience and coordinated care pathways, but also fosters and facilitates collaboration among the multiple specialties that are needed to help patients in their journeys from diagnosis through treatment to survivorship. Clinical services range from imaging, screening, and surgical services to cancer rehabilitation and psychooncology.  Support services include clinical rrials, education, financial counseling, genetic counseling, massage therapy, naturopathic medicine services, nutrition services, oncology social work services, support groups, and a survivorship clinic.

As part of the Swedish Cancer Institute, The Center is also in close proximity to other critical cancer-care resources, including medical and gynecologic oncology, surgical and integrated-care practices, the Swedish Cancer Institute’s chemotherapy infusion suites and radiation oncology facilities, a dedicated Cancer Education Center staffed by an American Cancer Society Navigator and a patient health educator, social work services, and financial counseling. The True Center is also home to the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research Screening Clinic.

“This type of facility has been a dream of the community for many years,” says Patricia Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., breast surgeon with the Swedish Cancer Institute and medical director of the True Center. “Our vision was to consolidate women’s cancer care into a single location where women could receive the highest level of coordinated care. We are pleased we are able to offer this one-of-a-kind resource for women dealing with cancer.”

The 23,600-square-foot True Family Women’s Cancer Center is located on the First Hill Campus of Swedish Medical Center in Seattle and occupies the 4th and 5th Floors of the 13-story Arnold Pavilion, home to the Swedish Cancer Institute.  The existing building has a narrow floor plate which allowed maximum access to daylight and views. The main focus of the planning was to accommodate and integrate as many services as possible within the Center and within the available square footage. Once the program was finalized, the primary design challenge was to create the appropriate environment that met the design and operational aspirations within the physical constraints of the existing building.  

Calm for the entire family
The initial design vision was to create a cohesive, consistent, and calming environment that would provide a haven of support for women who were recently diagnosed with cancer and their families.  Initial design descriptors included non-institutional, haven of support, calming, warm, natural materials, soft forms, integrated (materials, lighting, furniture, art, signage, etc.), and stress-reducing.  The design approach was to utilize curvilinear forms to soften the feel of the space and create a sense of comforting and enveloping, while maintaining a more rectilinear geometry in the clinical spaces to optimize functionality and efficiency.  

While the center was designed specifically to accommodate primarily female patients through the use of softer forms, soft fabrics and materials, appropriate art and signage, softer lighting, and a calm palette, the design also recognized that many of the services provided are for the entire family, and a few of the physicians in the Center also see male patients, so the design was not meant to be overly feminine. The use of pink was strictly forbidden.

Innovative design features include the Wall of Hope, the donor wall built from a salvaged big leaf maple tree and fabricated by local wood experts, an extensive art program, and many sustainable features including new solar control film over the existing single-pane windows to improve energy efficiency, use of low-VOC materials throughout, and extensive wood paneling made of elm veneer from a single elm tree.

In 2012 the dream of having a women’s cancer center at Swedish became a reality. The True Family Women’s Cancer Center opened in June thanks to the generosity of a compassionate community and the commitment of a dedicated staff of healthcare professionals. Funding for the $11 million needed to create the center came from private donations. The families of Patricia True, Doug and Janet True, and Bill and Ruth True launched the fund-raising efforts in 2008 with a $2 million gift. In the years following more than 2,500 other individuals and organizations contributed the remaining $9 million.

In just the first 6 months of operation, there were more than 15,000 patient encounters, including 3,485 surgical visits, 6,149 medical oncology visits, 4,503 integrated care visits, and 919 imaging procedures. Judging from the significant number of patients seen at the True Center who are new to the Swedish Cancer Institute, the concept of a women’s cancer center serving the Northwest was both long overdue and a well-appreciated reality.


Bio
Brad Hinthorne, AIA, is an Associate Principal with the Perkins+Will Seattle office.  He has practiced healthcare architecture in the Pacific Northwest for over 20 years and is Past Chair of Washington Oregon Architecture for Health Panel.  Brad can be reached at brad.hinthorne@perkinswill.com.


Past installment of "Designing for Health" include (click on the title to access the full article):
Physician Shortages and Implications for Design
Designing for an International Standard of Care in Transforming Global Cultures
There Is An App for That
Healing the Hospital
Exploring Collaboration in the Consolidated Interventional Platform



Designing for Health: The True Family Women’s Cancer Center

01 January, 2013


Juan Hernandez

"Designing for Health" is a monthly, web-exclusive series from the healthcare interior design leaders at Perkins+Will that focuses on the issues, trends, challenges, and research involved in crafting today's healing environments.

The vision for True Family Women’s Cancer Center was inspired by the leadership of the Swedish Cancer Institute over ten years ago.  Among the primary goals outlined at that time were to improve patient outcomes by bringing together leading experts in women’s cancer care and the advanced technology needed to diagnose and treat those cancers, accommodate a perceived need in the market to provide comprehensive cancer services specifically for women, improve patient access by consolidating services that were dispersed in separate locations across multiple Swedish campuses, optimize clinical and operational efficiencies, and generally offer women every possible advantage in their fight against the disease.

The project was conceived as having two primary components: The women’s cancer program, a combination of services that allow cross-disciplinary collaboration; and the center, the physical environment to support and enable those programs and services. Providing multiple resources under one roof not only offers women added convenience and coordinated care pathways, but also fosters and facilitates collaboration among the multiple specialties that are needed to help patients in their journeys from diagnosis through treatment to survivorship. Clinical services range from imaging, screening, and surgical services to cancer rehabilitation and psychooncology.  Support services include clinical rrials, education, financial counseling, genetic counseling, massage therapy, naturopathic medicine services, nutrition services, oncology social work services, support groups, and a survivorship clinic.

As part of the Swedish Cancer Institute, The Center is also in close proximity to other critical cancer-care resources, including medical and gynecologic oncology, surgical and integrated-care practices, the Swedish Cancer Institute’s chemotherapy infusion suites and radiation oncology facilities, a dedicated Cancer Education Center staffed by an American Cancer Society Navigator and a patient health educator, social work services, and financial counseling. The True Center is also home to the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research Screening Clinic.

“This type of facility has been a dream of the community for many years,” says Patricia Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., breast surgeon with the Swedish Cancer Institute and medical director of the True Center. “Our vision was to consolidate women’s cancer care into a single location where women could receive the highest level of coordinated care. We are pleased we are able to offer this one-of-a-kind resource for women dealing with cancer.”

The 23,600-square-foot True Family Women’s Cancer Center is located on the First Hill Campus of Swedish Medical Center in Seattle and occupies the 4th and 5th Floors of the 13-story Arnold Pavilion, home to the Swedish Cancer Institute.  The existing building has a narrow floor plate which allowed maximum access to daylight and views. The main focus of the planning was to accommodate and integrate as many services as possible within the Center and within the available square footage. Once the program was finalized, the primary design challenge was to create the appropriate environment that met the design and operational aspirations within the physical constraints of the existing building.  

Calm for the entire family
The initial design vision was to create a cohesive, consistent, and calming environment that would provide a haven of support for women who were recently diagnosed with cancer and their families.  Initial design descriptors included non-institutional, haven of support, calming, warm, natural materials, soft forms, integrated (materials, lighting, furniture, art, signage, etc.), and stress-reducing.  The design approach was to utilize curvilinear forms to soften the feel of the space and create a sense of comforting and enveloping, while maintaining a more rectilinear geometry in the clinical spaces to optimize functionality and efficiency.  

While the center was designed specifically to accommodate primarily female patients through the use of softer forms, soft fabrics and materials, appropriate art and signage, softer lighting, and a calm palette, the design also recognized that many of the services provided are for the entire family, and a few of the physicians in the Center also see male patients, so the design was not meant to be overly feminine. The use of pink was strictly forbidden.

Innovative design features include the Wall of Hope, the donor wall built from a salvaged big leaf maple tree and fabricated by local wood experts, an extensive art program, and many sustainable features including new solar control film over the existing single-pane windows to improve energy efficiency, use of low-VOC materials throughout, and extensive wood paneling made of elm veneer from a single elm tree.

In 2012 the dream of having a women’s cancer center at Swedish became a reality. The True Family Women’s Cancer Center opened in June thanks to the generosity of a compassionate community and the commitment of a dedicated staff of healthcare professionals. Funding for the $11 million needed to create the center came from private donations. The families of Patricia True, Doug and Janet True, and Bill and Ruth True launched the fund-raising efforts in 2008 with a $2 million gift. In the years following more than 2,500 other individuals and organizations contributed the remaining $9 million.

In just the first 6 months of operation, there were more than 15,000 patient encounters, including 3,485 surgical visits, 6,149 medical oncology visits, 4,503 integrated care visits, and 919 imaging procedures. Judging from the significant number of patients seen at the True Center who are new to the Swedish Cancer Institute, the concept of a women’s cancer center serving the Northwest was both long overdue and a well-appreciated reality.


Bio
Brad Hinthorne, AIA, is an Associate Principal with the Perkins+Will Seattle office.  He has practiced healthcare architecture in the Pacific Northwest for over 20 years and is Past Chair of Washington Oregon Architecture for Health Panel.  Brad can be reached at brad.hinthorne@perkinswill.com.


Past installment of "Designing for Health" include (click on the title to access the full article):
Physician Shortages and Implications for Design
Designing for an International Standard of Care in Transforming Global Cultures
There Is An App for That
Healing the Hospital
Exploring Collaboration in the Consolidated Interventional Platform
 


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