Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Cancer care / Service redesign

Indian cancer centre serving as COVID-19 testing and treatment site

By Andrew Sansom 20 May 2020 0

A key cancer care institution for the state of West Bengal, Tata Medical Center (TMC) in Kolkata, India, has been authorised by the Indian Council of Medical Research to conduct COVID-19 tests and treat cancer patients infected by the virus.

There are six private testing facilities in the state, including TMC Kolkata, a facility designed by CannonDesign. Architects from the firm’s Mumbai office consulted hospital representatives about how the hospital could adapt to treat both COVID and non-COVID cancer patients. 

The hospital identified a zone on the second floor of Phase II of the facility, which houses acute and critical care spaces with negative isolation rooms, to treat COVID-positive cancer patients and staff members. 

Almost immediately after Tata Medical Center opened its first phase in 2011, the demand for its services far outweighed the capacity of its 183 inpatient bed hospital and outpatient facility. To accommodate demand and increase bed capacity, CannonDesign designed a second phase, which opened in 2019. Phase II added 240 beds, as well as an education block with an auditorium and rooms for visiting faculty and students. The added educational space now allows Tata to host medical trainees and become a centre for academic medicine.

The design team planned Phase II around the central courtyard from the original design and paid special attention to retain its elegance without limiting areas of spontaneous interaction between researchers and clinicians. The exterior design of the two phases was seamless, creating a medical centre built of native sandstone oriented to capture prevailing winds.

Across both phases, treatment processes and patient encounters were optimised to improve patient experience and increase staff efficiency. Natural light, views of gardens, a sensitive use of materials and carefully crafted spaces enhance the human experience. 

The outdoor spaces and courtyards are frequented by patients, visitors, doctors and staff looking for a moment of respite amid the frenetic pace of the medical centre. The lotus pond is especially popular, paying tribute to the important role courtyards and water features play in traditional Indian architecture. Because many family members come to visit and assist with care, waiting rooms were made larger to accommodate these groups along with built-in benches in public patient wards for those staying for long periods of time.

One of the key additions in Phase II was a children’s ICU, where the paediatric population can receive specialised care and accommodate their families. An open terrace off the paediatric ward is appreciated by staff members as a nearby connection with nature, as well as a space for kids to be in a non-medical environment.