The renovation of the south end of the Park Hospital, formerly the Children’s Hospital, was completed on schedule in June 2021. In October, we began to admit patients, mostly for adult surgery, in the new premises as planned.
In this renovation, modern premises for adult surgery were built at the Park Hospital. The Hospital now has 11 operating rooms and outpatient and ambulatory surgery facilities, as well as facilities required for the functions where the patient arrives into surgery from home and is discharged directly from the recovery room. We equipped the procedure rooms to a standard such that not all procedures need to be carried out in operating rooms. The ward has 50 beds and occupies two floors.
The Park Hospital now houses plastic surgery, breast surgery, venous surgery, specialist medical care for oral and maxillofacial diseases, clinical physiology and radiology, as relocated from other HUS buildings. Units were opened one by one as the precisely timetabled relocations progressed.
Designing new operations together
The design and startup of the new hospital represented a major effort for the specialties and occupational groups relocating to the Park Hospital. Optimization of patient care was a primary concern in designing how the hospital would operate, as several units that used to be separate now came to share the same premises. With shared units, we were able to simplify the care provided and streamline its costs. This also served to simplify the process for the patients.
For instance, previously separate outpatient clinics were brought together in larger, shared premises, allowing them to treat a larger number of patients and thus better to comply with the care guarantee. The short stay surgery unit (LYHKI) began to collect short stay surgery patients under various specialties into a single unit. The inpatient ward is also shared by the various specialties. However, due to staff shortages we were only able to open 32 beds of the 50 in 2021. We designed and opened a dedicated recovery room at the hospital as well. We were unable to introduce recovery room monitoring for major surgery as planned in 2021 due to staff shortages.
We cooperated with other units and support services in multiple ways. Close cooperation allowed us to start up the hospital’s operations on schedule with extensive publicity.
Exceptional construction project
The renovation lasted for more than two years and involved a complete overhaul of about two thirds of the Park Hospital. A full-scale renovation was performed on the interiors in order to eliminate the previously identified serious indoor air issues. The exceptionally stringent goals for the indoor air of the completed building required a continuous, systematic management of cleanness and humidity for the duration of the demolition and construction work.
The demolition was thorough, leaving only the load bearing structure and the valuable protected exterior of the building standing at the south end. The premises were completely rebuilt using low-emission materials, with a wholly new ventilation system and modern hospital technology installed within the old building.
The fact that the Park Hospital is a listed building of great historical significance brought special characteristics and limitations to the renovation project. Throughout the project, we liaised closely with the Helsinki City Museum, the building supervision authorities and other officials.
The theme for the renovation project was ‘Genius loci’ with the aim of honoring the history of the building, which served as the Children’s Hospital for more than 70 years, providing care for children and adolescents. We preserved the essential character of the building and its internal spaces and conserved architecturally significant elements such as stairwells, stained glass, the Moomin murals and some of the original lighting fixtures. We also installed large black and white photos in the corridors to illustrate the history of the hospital. The renovation included restoring the park at the corner of the hospital plot to a design resembling its original guise.