Building Toronto – Humber River Hospital


In 1997, three community hospitals merged. They were Northwestern General, Humber
Memorial and York-Finch General Hospital and they became Humber River Regional
Hospital. When we looked at the plans that were on
the table for the three facilities we didn’t feel it was going to be
adequate to serve the needs in the long term. We came up with the plan that we would
change the model of care because the model of care across the province had changed and that we needed to provide most of
the services out in the community while the acute care services were
centralized. The new Humber River Hospital located at Keele and 401 is going to be at the center of
the care that we will provide for the community. The hospital is one point eight million square feet. It’s 656 in-patient beds and then all the other services you
would want. So we provide all services except open-heart surgery and neuro surgery. It’s built on a part of the campus that’s a government of Ontario campus at Keele & Wilson. It was called the Ministry of
Transportation site and we have almost thirty acres that we’re building on and the hospital will be fourteen floors
high and about the size of two-and-a-half
football fields on the base levels. Thirty of the acres, the whole area to
the hospital is being built on, is parking lot. So we looked at it as an opportunity to
work with the campus, reorganize the campus, beautify the buildings that
existed and create a beautiful community ammenity. There were a lot of discussions that
occurred in the planning phase to determine
what health care of the future would look like. Part of our strategic plan looks at patient and family centered
care. We also wanted to create the workplace a
distinction and in creating a workplace of distinction it
has to be an environment that your staff are comfortable working in, your physicians
are comfortable working in. We came down on three areas for the new hospital – being lean, green and digital. Green is one that we started planning long
before we even had approval for the hospital. But we realized that in small, old
buildings I don’t have to walk very far to deliver care and find things. When you start to look at modern
building design, you’re talking about much longer walk. You can’t ask somebody to be happy at work, be able to see their
patients and enjoy what they’re doing if you’re doubling the amount of time they have to walk. We asked the designers and the
builders to take this into consideration as they designed our building to bring us some really unique ideas
about how to decrease the amount of walking time, how to get some light into
these big units, how to be sure that the patients had a relaxing and quiet
environment to be in. And one of the things they did was they
located staff elevators and supply closets and supply elevators quite frequently throughout the unit within the centre of that 32-bed unit. So a nurse doesn’t have to walk any further than six beds away to try to find the supply she needs. In terms of our patients, we knew from a
new way that Ontario is building hospitals that 80 per cent of our patients would
have a single patient room. So when you start to have a single
patient room with a three-piece bathroom in it for the individual patient you are able then to create some space
for the family to stay over and you start to welcome the family into the
room. We did take into consideration how we would be a partner in the
community. A lot of our design is about that; about
creating a facility although large that fits into the community so part of our
strategy is being green. Green not only means energy-efficient –
means that we’re using green roofs but a lot of green around the building as well and so that there are bike paths, walking
paths, places to see sit, lots of trees, healing gardens, gathering places for people to sit. We’ve tried to be respectful of some of the
designs and furniture in the community and create some nice sitting areas and green
walking paths for people. A digital hospital means that every process within the
facility is fully automated. Patients from home would be able to
access their health record they would be able to look at when their
future appointment is and show them the location within the facility to go to. The supplies within the hospital
will be delivered straight to the unit by robots, saving time for the
people who are trying to provide the care. Our digital vision has really focused on ‘How am i connecting with my patient?’ There is not only a screen at the
bedside for the patient to use but also a monitor at the foot of
the patient’s bed and both of those devices will have on
it their email, their T.V., video internet connection, but it will also
have access to their chart. It will have learning videos on it. It will allow just by virtue of me walking
in the room my picture to come up and the person will know who comes in the
room. These devices will help people to feel
like you’re not isolated. They can have Skype with their family,
they can communicate any way they want on these devices. Our entrance for ambulatory care is called
“Portals of Care” and we fashioned it very much after an airport design. When a person drives up they’ll be able to drop off right at the
entryway for the type of treatment they’re coming for. It’ll be clearly labeled,
their information will tell them which door to come to. They’ll walk thirty feet across a
beautiful entryway and go straight into the clinic appointment. It’s a bit of lean
processing that we did for our patients. We didn’t want them to have to walk a
great distance. We wanted to be close and easy access for them. The first five floors, which are the podiums we call them which is where the operating rooms are, many of the ambulatory services. From floor six to fourteen will be our inpatient beds. The patient care tower is largely glass and that’s of course to allow windows for
patients to to be able to look out of so it’s largely glass, but there is also
some brick and some precast concrete trying to give it more of a community look and not just a great big tall glass building. We have what we call the
main allee. And what it is is a almost three-storey
height lobby entrance that is the full length of the building
and it will allow you to look to either end where there are elevators that can
take you up into the building. It will also have staircase that will
take you up just one flight of stairs for people that want to be easily get up to
the diagnostic imaging the operating room and one floor downstairs to our
food court and outdoor patio area. The staff areas in the place that our automated guided vehicles will deliver product and things will be coming and going are
internal to the nursing units. So when in fact, when you come as a visitor it’s very
peaceful environment that you as the public are traveling in. You’re not seeing
carts being pushed through there; you’re not seeing product being delivered; you’re
not seeing linen being delivered – all of that is being done internal to
the building. On nursing unit’s, the public area really has a more peaceful, more quiet
environment for people to come and go from. One of our sites at Finch and 400 is going to be ambulatory care. The Church site and the Keele site will be decommissioned and will not be
used for acute care and are not part of our future model of care. Over a thirty year period the maintenance and the fees that must be
paid – the total project cost is 2.6 billion dollars. When people talk about the cost of the
building they talk about the cost of construction, they talk about the cost of maintaining
it over thirty years. So when you hear very large dollars for
these DBFM projects – these design, build finance, maintain projects it’s
because you’re talking about not only the cost of the construction of
the building but you’re also talking about the cost of
maintaining it over 30 years. We had the opportunity to build new and we wanted to make sure that we were
able to use as much of what’s going to happen in the future in our plans and that’s how we came about looking at technology but also trying to
set a benchmark for what other people can use in their
current facilities and what other people should think about if they’re building a
new facility.

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