Design flexibility enables Liverpool hospital revamp


IBI Nightingale behind transformation of former office space at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital into new inpatient suite

The importance of flexible design when creating healthcare buildings was illustrated when architects converted former office space at Liverpool’s specialist heart and chest hospital into new patient accommodation.

The hospital, which was designed by IBI Nightingale, opened five years ago and has recently undergone work to create the high-specification Oak Ward – a facility with 12 en-suite bedrooms and two four-bed bays for cardiac surgery patients.

Designed around the trust’s aim to provide a patient and family-centred model of care, the work was made possible due to the flexibility designed into ‘soft accommodation’ within the original building, which enables sections to be easily adapted for different services, in this case the alteration of the executive office suite into an inpatient area.

Incorporating future flexibility and adaptability when planning healthcare environments is imperative

Project director, John Knape, said: “Incorporating future flexibility and adaptability when planning healthcare environments is imperative. The proposed solution for the Oak Ward meant design and installation was quick as services were already accounted for. Consequently, we were able to focus on the quality of the patient environment, testing the single bedroom and en-suite ergonomics, aesthetics and buildability to ensure they fully supported the clinical services.”

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The unit features IBI Nightingale’s bespoke bedhead fitment incorporating a combination of wardrobe; pull-out locker; drop-down relative’s bed; self-medication drugs cabinet; and medical gases, power and data outlets which are concealed behind sliding doors when not in use. It also includes low-level LED lighting that assists in reducing the likelihood of falls and is activated by a sensor responsive to the movement of a patient’s feet.