Building Better Healthcare Awards 2016: Guide to the Patient Environment class


Have you got what it takes to be a winner? Here's how to stand out in this year's competition

In the latest of our weekly articles guiding you through the categories for the 2016 Building Better Healthcare Awards, we are providing an overview of the ever-popular Patient Environment class.

Attracting a high number of entries each year, the four awards up for grabs this year recognise best practice and innovation in the design of new and refurbished health and social care facilities across the UK and overseas.

In particular, the Patient Environment class looks at the impact interior, landscape design, and the arts can have on improving patient, visitor and staff wellbeing.

In each category the focus is on how the intervention improves and enhances the environment for patients, visitors and staff

The Award for Best External Environment will be presented to an outstanding external space that enhances the overall experience of patients, staff and visitors through gardens, landscape, urbanscape or streetscape. Entries must involve projects that are completed and fully operational.

In previous years the category has attracted entries mostly dealing with the inclusion of landscaping in health and social care development projects. However, the judges will also welcome entries concerning external building works, artwork, and the improvement and creation of external areas such as carparks and public access points, including the provision of shelters and walkways.

Entries are welcomed from any health or social care provider, including, but not restricted to, hospitals, care homes, hospices, dementia care units, and prisons.

The judges will be looking for evidence of how the project enhances the patient, visitor and staff experience and sets a precedent for the design of future outdoor spaces. It must also be mindful of the location in which it is set, reflecting the topography and nature of the surroundings.

The recipient of last year’s award for Best External Environment was The Landscape Partnership for Kingfisher Court (The Landscape Partnership, P+HS Architects).

The judges said of the project: “A wide variety of different external areas have been created, offering quiet spaces as well as areas for socialisation and active engagement.

“Service users and staff were involved in the design and many features have been incorporated for therapeutic activities to support individual care plans.

“The external surroundings of the building have also been considered in the design.”

The Award for Best Internal Environment will highlight an outstanding therapeutic space that enhances the overall experience of patients, staff and visitors through an effective approach to interior design. Entries can include, but are not restricted to, interior design, building refurbishments and alterations.

In this category, entries must show how the project respects the modesty, privacy and dignity of patients and visitors , creates a welcoming and attractive environment that lifts the spirits, and provides an inspirational sense of place and a therapeutic environment.

The 2015 winner in this category was IBI Group for the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre, Harrogate (IBI Group, Sir Robert McAlpine).

“This has been designed to enhance outcomes and there is expansive use of design to connect the inside and outside spaces,” said the judges.

“The building is welcoming, with lots of informal spaces to sit, and patient privacy, preferences and accessibility have informed the design throughout.”

The last awards category in this class has this year been split into two. Due to the huge number of entries in previous years, the Award for Best Collaborative Arts Project will now be recognise both performance and static arts programmes.

Both awards will recognise collaborative projects that have had a measurable positive impact on the patient and staff experience within a healthcare environment. The judges will be looking for programmes that involves the healthcare provider, patients and other key stakeholders including local communities. All entries must show evidence of cross-party involvement..

Entries in this category must explain how the project improves the overall wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors, integrates the arts into the patient environment and/or patient treatment pathway, and encourages involvement among patients, staff and visitors.

The Award for Collaborative Arts Project (Performance) can include singing, dancing workshops etc, while the Award for Collaborative Arts Project (Static) is aimed at programmes that include artwork, sculpture etc.

In all categories projects must have been completed and become fully operational between 1 January 2015 and 1 June 2016. Entries should also include testimonials from users.

Sarah Waller, head judge for the Patient Environment class, said: “In each category the focus is on how the intervention improves and enhances the environment for patients, visitors and staff. We will expect to see testimonials from users and clinical representatives, and will want to see evidence of the involvement of key stakeholders in the design process.

Jo Makosinski, editor of Building Better Healthcare and organiser of the awards, added: “When completing entry forms, it is vital you explain clearly how the development meets each of the bulletpoints set out in the judging criteria, and that images enable the judges to picture the project in its entirety.

“It is important that the entry is completed by a senior member of the team as they are in the best position to describe the benefits and the thinking behind the project. In addition, entries need to be clearly written and succinct; dealing only with the details and impact of the development and how it will demonstrate improvements on what is currently available. This should be supported by genuine comments from clinicians, patients and other service users. If these guidelines are followed then the judges will have sufficient information on which to make an informed decision. If any of this information is lacking, then it could mean projects not getting through to the final stages of judging.”

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