Capital Clinic Physiotherapy
WE were approached late in 2011 by Rob Erickson of Capital Clinic Physiotherapy to help update their existing facility in Canberra CBD.
The brief was a fairly open request; Provide and updated look for the aging space, if possible, improve some of the treatment rooms and provide better staff facilities. The CBD location of the practice dictates its core clients are professional people with high standards and expectations and the new space needs to reflect that.
The existing facility was constructed over a couple of stages and in a haphazard fashion. Clients and staff had to navigate a long disordered space from the overcrowded reception at one end, moving past open kitchen and laundry areas to access the more usable consulting rooms at the other end of the space. Some of the consulting spaces were curtained cubicles which were unpopular with both staff and clients and afforded little privacy. The administration office area was not suitably separated from the public spaces and served both clinical and administrative functions.
Working Environments chose to consider the project holistically and address planning as much as the aesthetics in the solution. A plan was devised which centralised the reception and the administration office. The proximity of the admin office and enlarged reception is complemented by a “one way viewing window” allowing supervision of reception by the practice manger and the owner. The separate admin office allows for private administrative work to be carried out away from the clinical staff and patients.
The old reception area was set aside to serve “back of house functions”, clinical office, kitchen and laundry. The creation of a dedicated clinical office with proper desk facilities allows clinical staff to effectively complete record keeping tasks in privacy and to discuss cases and treatment programs in a group environment away from patients. The clinical offices proximity to the reception allows admin to monitor the whereabouts of the clinical staff. The new plan incorporates a staff toilet and shower into this area also. Though the shower/internal toilet came at a premium it was identified as the most desirable improvements nominated by the staff. Active people as physio’s tend to be, the shower allows staff to freshen up after a cycle to work or other athletic activities.
Leading away from the new centralised reception a main circulation passage was created extending left and right to either end of the tenancy thus dividing the traffic and calming the circulation. This single corridor allows easily navigable efficient circulation for staff and clients. A wall of joinery along the central passage accommodates all the support facilities for the treatment rooms. Items such as hand washing sinks, x-ray viewing boxes, equipment trolleys and the more frequently required treatment supplies are now at easy reach for the practitioners. Further this shared storage facility reduces the need for mass duplication of supplies within the consulting rooms and the increased number of hand washing basins simplifies hygiene regimes.
Lastly the increased space efficiency of the revised plan allows for 10 suitably sized consult rooms to equally facilitate a range of treatment practices with equal amenity and equal privacy; gone are the unpopular curtained cubicles.
Refit While In Occupation
Although the refit involved the reconstruction of almost 50% of the interior it was completed while the client was in occupation and without significant disruption to the practice in a 4 week program. Yes the re-planned space came at a cost premium over the original basic aesthetic makeover, however to offset the increased re-plan costs some aesthetic sacrifices were made to help keep the budget reasonable. That said both staff and clients agree the result is a dramatic improvement.
Function vs Aesthetics
How your facility is fitted-out can have a big impact on the way it operates, how your patients are attended to and your bottom line.
Much debate exists on how a colour schemes and decorative aesthetic in health facilities can affect patient outcomes. WE think it is as much about function and planning. A disorganised space will lead to a disorganised service delivery. Each area within the facility must serve a function and provide a logical link in the delivery of a service. Good structural planning must help in providing better service and therefore patient outcomes.
An organised well planned space will positively affect how the practitioners feel about their workplace and therefore how they operate within the space. A space that is calm and ordered, where clinicians can work suitably supported and efficiently and where a patient feels welcome and comfortable and able to give them-selves to the process of wellbeing can’t help but contribute to positive outcomes.
Paint the surgery any colour you like, obviously not something too confrontational, but concern yourself more with the operational issues of the space … to WE that is common-sense and best practice.