Why and when we’re building
Imagine a hospital that helps you manage your condition at home, so that you’re here less often. Imagine a place that focuses on prevention, healthy living and survivorship, as much as it does on medical and surgical interventions. Imagine a hospital that’s built not around in-patient wards and bedrooms, but around specialized operating suites and clinic spaces that combine treatment, education and research.
The care that Women’s College Hospital delivers today doesn’t fit into the narrow hallways and small patient rooms of a 1930s hospital. It works best in “clinical neighbourhoods.” It works best when the environment reflects the needs of women’s health.
After all, there is a new health reality out there today. Women are living longer than ever before. But many are doing so with a complex array of diseases and conditions – like heart disease, cancers, diabetes, arthritis and mental health issues – that can severely affect their quality of life.
Just look at the numbers. Almost 80 per cent of Ontarians over age 45 have at least one chronic illness. More than 70 per cent of women over the age of 60 have at least one chronic condition, and nearly half are reporting two or more. And, younger women are not exempt. Arthritis and rheumatism, cancers and asthma, depression and migraine, diabetes and addictions are increasingly affecting them – in major numbers.
Yet our health-care system is still designed to deal with acute problems – problems that are short, urgent and potentially curable.
No longer. In 2006, Women’s College Hospital was given a mandate to create Ontario’s only stand-alone academic ambulatory care hospital dedicated to women’s health. That decision recognizes that women and their families need help living healthier and more independent lives with the diseases and conditions that are affecting them most. It also acknowledges that these conditions can be managed – and even prevented – without overnight hospitalization and with new approaches to care.
Our new building will be constructed at the hospital’s current site on Grenville Street, and work will begin in late 2010. It will be a two-phased building process beginning with the closure and demolition of the parking garage. The first phase of the hospital will rise up where the parking garage was located. During the second phase, hospital clinics and services will move into the first section of the new facility. When the final phase of construction is complete, most hospital services will be in one location.
When all is said and done, Women’s College Hospital will have a state-of-the-art facility that reflects its world leadership in women’s health and its pre-eminence in ambulatory care. It will be a welcoming and supportive space for patients and staff that integrates care, research and education. It will allow an increased capacity for Urgent Care services by 100 per cent and ambulatory surgery by 40 per cent. Simply put, it will be the Hospital of the Future, delivering care in unprecedented ways.