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Reshaping the future of health care: The seven big priorities for The Ottawa Hospital’s new campus

These planning principles reflect the hospital’s ambitious vision of the future

Ottawa Hospital new campus rendering

The opportunity to design, plan and build a new hospital comes around once in a generation.

The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) is currently seizing the opportunity to reshape the future of health care by delivering a state-of-the-art new campus that prioritizes patient experience, inclusivity, and innovation.

Driving the design and development of what will become the largest health-care facility in Eastern Ontario — and one of the most modern, accessible, and technologically advanced health facilities in Canada — are the key planning principles for the new campus.

“When planning started for the new campus, we wanted to be clear on our objectives and aligned with TOH’s values, mission and vision,” says Karen Stockton, executive director of planning and development at TOH. “This is how we’re building the best hospital for everyone.”

Seven planning principles to build the best hospital

1. Create an exceptional experience for patients, families, and staff

Spaces throughout the hospital are being designed to enhance comfort, safety and convenience for patients, families and staff. Single patient rooms with private washrooms will reflect the latest standards in infection prevention and control, while maximizing privacy and rest.

Mock up of a patient room at the new Ottawa Hospital campus
Every patient room will be private and will have space for loved ones to visit or spend the night. Floor to ceiling windows will provide a clear view to the natural surroundings and a connection to the outdoors. (Artist rendering, subject to change)

The new hospital is also being designed to improve the efficiency of organizational workflow and processes so that staff and physicians can deliver care more consistently, reliably, and safely, while adhering to the highest standards of practice.

2. Improve health and wellness for people onsite and in the community

The average length of stay at the Ottawa Hospital is currently 8.2 days. A growing body of research indicates that the improved privacy and rest that can come with single patient rooms can result in improved patient outcomes and shorter hospital stays.

Current designs feature large windows throughout the hospital that will provide generous amounts of natural light and views of publicly accessible outdoor green spaces with the intent to connect patients, families and staff to nature and promote a holistic sense of well-being.

3. Ensure universal access for people living with a wide range of abilities

Universal accessibility is a fundamental component of the new campus and a priority for TOH. All site plans and designs, including architectural design, wayfinding and the selection of equipment and furniture throughout the campus are reviewed by a third-party accessibility consultant.

By prioritizing patient access to equitable health care and considering the requirements for all people with a wide range of abilities, the new campus will surpass many of the standards set out in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

4. Provide a welcoming space for everyone

The Ottawa Hospital is dedicated to supporting inclusivity at all of its campuses and sites, where all patients, visitors and staff can safely access all facilities and services in a dignified, equitable and inclusive way in which all cultural values are respected without discrimination. The new campus design will reflect and celebrate the cultural diversity of our community and everyone served by TOH.

TOH is committed to a journey of reconciliation and ensuring First Nations, Inuit and Metis patients and families feel welcome and safe at all TOH campuses and sites. Our work towards reconciliation, which includes informing the design of the new campus, is guided by an Indigenous Peoples Advisory Circle.

5. Promote leadership in research and innovation

Research spaces at the new campus will be integrated into clinical areas to encourage close collaboration between researchers and clinicians. This means more patients will have access to clinical trials with potential life-changing results.

The development of all Ottawa Hospital’s campuses is driven by technology and innovation-based improvements, but the new campus presents a distinct opportunity to integrate smart technology from the initial design phase. A future-proof approach to new campus designs will better ensure adaptability and will make it easier to incorporate emerging technology into patient care as it evolves.

6. Encourage learning opportunities for the next generation of health-care workers

The new campus will feature integrated learning and collaboration spaces across all environments to serve as teaching platforms for skills training. Versatile meeting spaces will welcome partners and the community.

As a teaching hospital with multiple campuses and sites, and affiliated with uOttawa, TOH will continue to build on its world-class academic program at the new campus; one that fosters ongoing education opportunities where learners are actively integrated and engaged in collaborative efforts within the very spaces where patient care is provided.

7. Contribute to planetary health and environmental sustainability

Employing a hybrid sustainability approach that is fundamentally guided by the health of both people and our planet, the new high-performance hospital building will reduce energy and water demand while using low-carbon fuel sources and renewable energy technology to produce a lower carbon footprint.

As part of its sustainability strategy, the Ottawa Hospital has partnered with Hydro Ottawa to build an energy efficient central utility plant that will support the new hospital and advance sustainable energy generation in Ottawa.

In addition to an ecologically conscious bird-safe design, the new campus will feature a naturalized landscape with open green spaces, natural habitats and pollinator gardens to connect people to nature and create harmony between the buildings and spaces on site.