A look into the design of the extensive redevelopment and expansion project taking place at Joseph Brant Hospital.

Joseph Brant Hospital, Burlington, Ontario

For those who reside in the City of Burlington, or even just visit once in a while, each of you know that the city is built around one element: a strong sense of community. When Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) began its extensive Redevelopment and Expansion Project, the team wanted to ensure that both the process and the end result reflected that same sense of collaboration and community that thrives within Burlington.

Prior to beginning this project, Joseph Brant Hospital joined an organization called the Centre for Health Design. This is a non-profit organization that demonstrates expertise in finding balance and harmony between the design of a facility and the healthcare it provides. The organization works with centres all across North America. JBH’s project became what is called a “pebble project” for the organization.

“The idea of a pebble project is that when you toss a pebble into the water, the ripples have an impact well beyond where it initially hits the water. For this project, the idea is that what we do with JBH will have an impact well beyond just our community,” explains Henri Dekker, the Director of Redevelopment and Facilities. By becoming a member of the Centre of Health Design, JBH has benefited from the research carried out by other healthcare facilities across North America. Throughout the development and construction process and once the project reaches completion, JBH will be sharing their ideas, technologies and other research collected throughout with other healthcare organizations so they may benefit when taking on projects of their own.

Inspired People & Teamwork

Joseph Brant Hospital, Burlington, OntarioOne of the most unique aspects of the JBH Redevelopment and Expansion Project is the number of perspectives that were actively involved in the decision-making processes. The redevelopment team has worked closely alongside staff and physicians in 17 different User Groups, each representing different functional areas within the hospital. These groups were given the opportunity to work collaboratively with the programmers, architects and the design build construction team to provide feedback, input and recommendations on design elements, technologies and equipment in the spaces they would be working in. The goal was to engage as broad a group as possible.

“This engagement model was crucial to the project. We want to ensure we are providing staff with what they need to provide the best possible care to the patients that come to JBH,” Henri elaborated. He went on to explain that JBH has been very fortunate to work with EllisDon, Parkin Architects and other sub-contractors involved on the project. All of these companies have a great deal of experience and expertise in the healthcare sector. By combining their expertise with the clinical recommendations and input from the staff at JBH, the hospital will function much more efficiently allowing for more patient-focused care.

Sustainability for the Next 50 Years

When the plan for the project was developed, it was decided that the new JBH would strive for a Silver LEED Certification. The new design features an extensive list of components that help ensure the hospital will be a more sustainable environment for years to come. During the construction process, an efficient recycling system has been implemented to minimize waste. “Everything is sorted. Concrete goes in one bin, while drywall goes in another and metal in another and so on. The idea is not to send things to landfill sites; it’s about diversion,” Henri explains. Upon completion, the new hospital will be outfitted with a number of different elements to conserve utilities and minimize waste. All the mechanical and electrical systems are high efficiency. All the lighting is LED. In the recently completed administrative building, lights are programmed to turn of after a certain amount of time when there is no activity sensed. The water used for flushing toilets is harvested rainwater. The building also has a sensory feature that measures how much natural light is coming in during the day. If there is sufficient natural light, the LED lights will dim automatically to offset. The blinds also come down automatically if the heat from the sun reaches a certain temperature.Joseph Brant Hospital, Burlington, Ontario

The Operating Rooms (ORs) have a very unique feature. There is a requirement that states the air in any Operating Room must be filtered and changed 20 times per hour while in use. JBH has built in the ability to reduce the number of air changes to six per hour at the end of the day when the OR is no longer being used to help conserve resources. The OR is fully equipped with LED lighting as well. The patient rooms each have LED fixtures that allow patients to control light levels and raise or lower the blinds electronically from their bedside tables. The curtain wall system on the exterior walls was selected based on its high-efficiency and each roof that is visible from the patient rooms is a “green roof.” This means they are flush with vegetation, which helps to minimize the heat gain in the summer and provide a more pleasing aesthetic.

“At the end of the day, LEED is really about the products you choose, how you use them and the ongoing consumption of utilities. It’s how you actively work to minimize the impact your facility has on the environment today and into the future,” Henri says.

An Environment For Healing

Joseph Brant Hospital, Burlington, OntarioHenri and his team, along with the Centre of Health Design found a great deal of research that demonstrates the effect that a patient’s room, environment and view can have on his/ her road to recovery. “If you have a hospital like ours that has a great view of the lake, versus a hospital which may only have a view of a brick wall on an adjacent building, there’s a very different impact on patient recovery,” he explains.

It was very important to the JBH team to leverage the location of the hospital to increase and improve the quality of care their patients would receive. 75% of the rooms will have a view of the lake, and the other 25% will have a view of the escarpment. The new seven-storey tower reaches quite high and all the patient rooms are on the upper floors of the building, which will ensure that the views are worthwhile. Each private room will be built with the capability for the rooming of a family member as well.

“In healthcare today, the family is a big part of the patient’s healthcare team. They want to be engaged, they want to participate which is obviously beneficial to the patient as well. There is a tremendous amount of research that shows this. Each private patient room in the new patient tower will now be equipped with a chair or a couch that can be converted into a bed where a family member can stay,” Henri describes.

Operational Readiness

A project of this magnitude is unlike anything the city has ever seen. The JBH team has assembled a group of experts to work alongside staff and partners to plan and prepare for how everyone will function in the new patient tower. This Operational Readiness Team is responsible for ensuring the smoothest transition possible for both the patients and the employees. 35 different programs covering specific areas of the organization have been engaged to plan, support and monitor the progress in advancing the necessary work to deliver a successful transition once this project is complete. These programs look at a long list of factors, including the scope of service, finance, human resource planning, process and flow, technology and equipment and operational communications.

In October, the Operational Readiness Team introduced the first Integrated Working Groups (IWG). These are groups comprised of subject matter experts from across the JBH network. They work together “to achieve specific goals around a defined issue. It provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration to ensure alignment with key stakeholders,” explains Marilyn Bellows, Director Operations Integrations. As this project progresses there will be a number of IWGs involved. The IWGs will create timelines and outlines for their deliverables, and be completed once the goals and objectives have been met. The lifespan of an IWG is anywhere from a few months to a year.

To further ease the transition, JBH has created high fidelity mock-up suites at an offsite location. These include an Operating Room with a scrub sink area outside, a Medical-Surgery patient room, an Emergency Bay and an Intensive Care Patient room. Staff members have been invited to visit these mock-ups to provide feedback and/ or suggestions on how to improve their design and layout. The general public was also invited to visit these mock-up suites and share their thoughts and feedback. This has proven to be incredibly successful and beneficial to all those involved.

There have been so many people dedicated to the success of this project from the day it began and each one has proven vital to the overall process. Mercedes-Benz Burlington (MBB) and Quantum Automotive Group (QAG) are proud to be amongst those involved in the Joseph Brant Hospital Redevelopment and Expansion Project. All three brands value the importance of well thought out design and innovative architecture. MBB and QAG have been partners with JBH for a number of years and have helped support many of their initiatives. They look forward to continuing their support for the remaining work on the Redevelopment and Expansion Project.

For more information about the Joseph Brant Hospital Redevelopment and Expansion Project, please visit: www.josephbranthospital.ca

For more information on Mercedes-Benz Burlington and Quantum Automotive Group, please visit: www.burlington.mercedes-benz.ca