Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Cancer care / Patient experience

Cancer Care by Design International Symposium

Building hope: The new Calgary Cancer Centre

By SALUS User Experience Team 03 Apr 2023 0

The southern Alberta province in Canada is experiencing a steep rise of cases and services are currently dispersed on various sites. Key to improving outcomes is providing a consolidated service combined with a community model partnered with education and research.


Susan Cardinal, patient and family advisor, “wishes” for the New Calgary Cancer Centre: “For the cancer patient, there is deep-seated fear; the greatest gift to a cancer patient is hope. A place that could radiate a feeling of positivity and hope, ample light and openness gives me a feeling of peace and hope.”

The New Calgary Cancer Centre includes prevention, screening, patient and family-centred care, applied research, supportive care, and education. The Centre includes patient support areas and ambulatory services: 100 exam rooms; 100 systemic therapy chairs; 160 beds; 15 radiation vaults, including an MRI linac suite; extensive imaging facilities; clinical trials unit; extensive wet and dry research labs; as well as the Knowledge Exchange Centre with direct links to the adjacent University of Calgary.

It was designed together with the patient advisor group, and the patient voice was heard through every step of the way, with the focus on the patient experience from the point of diagnosis through to discharge. The integrated interdisciplinary care team model gives a prominent role to the psychosocial oncology services placed in the heart of the Welcome Village.

Daylight and external views support the patient journey throughout with dedicated areas for both patient and staff wellness, including the ‘Heart’ an all-season external central courtyard and the key wayfinding device. The team reviewed a variety of clinics models that would be futureproofed for the rapid changes expected in the delivery of cancer care services.

The multidisciplinary approach to cancer care treatment was a key design driver of the ambulatory floors, interweaving clinics, and systemic therapy areas to achieve optimum patient journeys. The design of care areas is designed with capacity and flexibility with a standardised, modular approach to allow for future space changes of use or expansion.

Organisations involved