(c) James Brittain

Alex Oliver writes:

On Wednesday evening, I had the privilege of presenting the findings from our recent study on the effect of the built environment on young cancer patients to more than a hundred people  from health, media and building sectors, at the Saatchi Gallery in London.  We recently completed this work on behalf of the Teenage Cancer Trust and its sponsors from the building, design and architectural communities.

We found that design plays an integral role in helping young people fight cancer by providing a non-institutionalised medical environment within the National Health Service.  Design works hand in hand with staff, equipment and the culture of the units by providing more comfort and greater control, which in turn contribute to maintaining ‘normality’.  For teenagers this is very important; those who recover are able more quickly to pick up their lives again; those who  don’t can manage their lives for as long as possible.

One quote from the research exemplified the approach for me:

“The first thing you noticed was the mirror and the lights – you wouldn’t get that in a normal ward so it just tells you straight away that it’s a little bit different”.

The findings will be used by the Teenage Cancer Trust and its sponsors to develop  support for these services, and for their overall approach – demonstrating clear value both from the perspectives of the users of the service,  and in terms of improving health outcomes, since more positive patients are more likely to engage with treatment, and comply with it.

There’s more information in the flyer which was produced for the launch – click on the link here for a pdf: TeenageCancerTrust_twopager

The picture of the Teenage Cancer Trust’s ‘Skylab’ unit in Cardiff is by the specialist design photographer James Brittain, and it is used with thanks. It comes from Architeria. Building Design’s bdonline service had a brief news story about the launch of the research.

2 thoughts on “Building for better cancer care

  1. thenextwavefutures says:

    The journalist Matthew Engel, perhaps by coincidence, has a moving letter in today’s Guardian on the subject of the planned Teenage Cancer Trust centre in Brimingham:
    “Four years ago Guardian Weekend published an article of mine about the death, from cancer, of my 13-year-old son Laurie (The day the sky fell in, 3 December 2005). The piece may have had a greater impact than the thousands of other pieces I wrote for the paper put together.

    It talked, among other things, about the poor conditions Laurie endured at Birmingham children’s hospital. At the time, my wife and I had a hopeless fantasy about opening a Teenage Cancer Trust unit there to provide the kind of facilities patients and staff deserve. Next week the builders are due to hand over a £2.5m unit (mostly but not totally paid for). It should be ready for patients early next year, and will transform their lives.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/dec/02/cancer-late-diagnosis-gp-patients [Scroll down]

  2. thenextwavefutures says:

    Andrew Curry writes:

    More coverage of this work – this time in the Telegraph:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/children_shealth/6839247/Teenage-cancer-unit-like-home-but-fun.html

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