Altro’s patient-centred ethos boosts wellbeing at Hillingdon Hospital

Altro revisited Hillingdon Hospital, London, to see the lasting impact of products used to create patient-centred, healing, safe and homely environments in several departments.

The Paediatric A&E was transformed just over three years ago. Architect and healthcare specialist interior designer Georgia Burt of GBS Health worked closely with the hospital, lead designers Oxford Architects and with Altro on the project, with the aim to create a healing environment that would be comfortable, friendly, non-clinical and focus on wellbeing at a time of great stress.

Georgia says: “Being in hospital can be an upsetting and frightening experience for everyone, but especially for children. The interior space can have such a powerful effect on how they feel, and using the right designs, colours and materials will set the scene from the moment a child enters the space.”

Following a series of interactive consultation meetings with clinical and service users, a unique interior wayfinding strategy and supporting arts programme was developed. Using a combination of lighting, layout, materials, colour and artwork, a welcoming environment was created which has helped reduce anxiety at this stressful time for patients and carers.

Based on an urban study of the Borough of Hillingdon’s bio-diversity and award-winning parkland, the interior design and art concept were developed around the map of the borough as if imagined from a young person’s perspective. 

“We incorporated images and ideas into the space that children would recognise, to help them feel at home. The Hillingdon Trail is a very familiar walk locally and features some great characters and animals, such as a fox and owl. A large trail map in the reception leads a series of designs for the wards and cubicles using these characters,” says Georgia.

Christopher Knight, Capital Projects Manager, Estates Department, at The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, says: “Everyone says how lovely the A&E unit looks, the Hillingdon Trail is such a great idea for a focal point, because it’s so famous in the area, so children immediately feel at home and relaxed when they arrive. It truly is a child-centred space from the moment you arrive and it looks and feels different; the atmosphere has changed and it’s so much more positive.

“The Altro products look great, and still as good as the day they were fitted. They have enabled us to create the most wonderful environment that is not only safe and clean, but helps children to feel better and happier at a stressful time.”

Hillingdon’s Stoke Unit was also been vastly improved thanks to Georgia and Altro’s input, with the refurbishment of a bed bay, and also of the gymnasium; the area where important assessment and rehabilitation work takes place. Altro SerenadeTM acoustic smooth flooring was used, with large nature scenes reproduced on Altro Whiterock Digiclad™ to create a patient-centred biophilic design, to bring the outside in.  

Altro Serenade is ideal for spaces where comfort underfoot and impact sound reduction are paramount for patients. It is 3.9mm thick and has 19dB impact sound reduction. Along the walls of the gym is an image of a bluebell wood, in Altro Whiterock Digiclad. In the Stroke unit bed bays, a wildflower meadow runs along the entire wall above the bedheads.

Christopher Knight has seen a real difference for patients and staff. “The Stroke unit is now also hugely improved, thanks to the refurb. Using beautiful natural images to help relax and reassure patients has proved wonderfully calming for them, and we can see a real difference in behaviour. Staff are also thrilled with the new spaces. Working in an environment that’s colourful, friendly and warm has such an impact.” 

All the spaces have been transformed by the refurbishment in so many ways. Compared with how they looked before there really is no comparison; they have gone from dull and clinical to bright, light, colourful and comfortable, but still meet very strict guidelines for safety and infection control.

The designs use products from the Altro Whiterock hygienic wall sheets range – Altro Whiterock Digiclad, Altro Whiterock Chameleon™ and Altro Whiterock Satins™. Altro Wood™ Safety, Altro Suprema™ and Altro Aquarius™ safety floors were also used in the Hillingdon Hospital projects.

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