From mental asylum to urban village, the grounds at one of Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospitals have undergone a considerable transformation to better serve its community as a healing space that helps to normalize mental health treatment.
In undertaking this colossal task back in 2005, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto reached out to Stantec Architecture Ltd. to help deliver the innovational, patient-focused design in what has been called “a challenging urban environment.”
To date, the project has added 655,000 square feet through the McCain Complex Care and Recovery Building that houses public spaces and a resource center as well as the seven-story Crisis and Critical Care Building that houses 235 inpatient beds, a psychiatric emergency department, outpatient services, and exterior therapeutic spaces.
Developing a Patient-Focused Response to Care
With secure open spaces, ample views out into nature and thoughtful integration into the surrounding urban fabric, the most recent phase of development has garnered a considerable amount of praise. In addition, many of the programs that have been introduced into these spaces have received their own accolades, such as robust, therapeutic art classes.
The diversity of environments within the facilities helps set up clear delineations between different stages of patient care, allowing for a more keenly felt growth in the progression through experiential spaces. “The incorporation of diverse, simple graphic art provides a calming interior while engaging the patient and public with points of interest that can be easily changed over times,” states one juror from a recent design competition the hospital featured in.
Additionally, the redesign allowed the hospital to achieve several operational efficiencies. Owing to the consolidation of all clinical services, as well as the ED, in the same building, CAMH eased stress from the transfer of patients over time.
A real-time location system, meanwhile, allows patients more independence within the building, contributing to the recovery and normalization of their care procedures. The inclusion of a teaching kitchen has also given patients the opportunity to learn life skills through a specially designed program within the local community college.
Another version of this article originally appeared on Healthcare Design.