It is unlikely to come as a surprise to anyone that the quality of the physical environment, both indoor and outdoor, can have a significant impact on the human spirit and behaviour. Evidence shows that a well-designed environment can reduce patient stress, enhance the healing process and raise staff morale.
From the outset of the Queen Street Redevelopment Project—which began as an idea in 1999—CAMH adopted a vision where innovative patient care and research would be delivered from state-of-the art buildings that were integrated with the surrounding neighbourhood. The end result would be a safe, comfortable and welcoming place where patients could recover with dignity and social attitudes could change.
With our design vision firmly set, we focussed our attention on the details of the build.
For each phase of the build, we toured local and international facilities, attended conferences, reviewed research and conducted interviews with experts. And of course, we talked to the people who would be affected most. We have consulted with hundreds of CAMH staff, physicians and volunteers, current and former CAMH patients and families, neighbours and community members, partner hospitals and service agencies, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care staff, City of Toronto staff and local politicians.
Then, to test the effectiveness of the designs for patients and staff, we built and used full scale constructed mock-up rooms and, in our most recent phase (Phase 1C), used virtual reality simulation to review layouts.