Comfort and colour transforms cancer patient waiting areas

Westmead Hospital patient Steven Chamulko and his wife Irene enjoy the refurbished Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre main waiting room.

Patients and carers are walking into more comfortable and welcoming space thanks to a $225,000 upgrade of the Westmead Hospital Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre.

New lounges and chairs, phone charging stations, TV screens, sound absorption wall tiles, and a fresh colour scheme with Australian-themed artworks are among the features of the five overhauled patient waiting rooms, designed from scratch with consumer input.

Lung cancer patient and Vietnam War veteran Steven Chamulko said he appreciated the thought that went into the redesign.

Irene and Steven Chamulko in one of the refurbished clinics.

“When you walk into somewhere that’s colourful, light and bright you feel better, rather than somewhere drab that gets you down,” Steven said.

“I’ve always regarded Westmead Hospital as well-designed, with the open spaces and corridors where you can look outside and see Mother Nature. It makes a big difference.”

Cancer Services operations manager Anne Caboche said the refurbishment process began with a Cancer Institute patient survey, which highlighted the need to upgrade waiting areas.

“We brought consumers together to find out what they liked and didn’t like, and the consensus was that people wanted a calm space inspired by nature,” Anne said.

WSLHD Capital Works architectural project officer Latifi Farah and Westmead Hospital Cancer Services operations manager Anne Caboche.

The redevelopment started last year when NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard contributed $85,000 to improve patient experience from the Minister’s Contingency Fund for the Nepean and Westmead Cancer Centres. A further $120,000 was donated by Dry July and $20,000 came from the general Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre trust fund.

Architectural project officer Latifi Farah said the project was designed and delivered in-house by Western Sydney Local Health District Capital Works.

“The spaces are more modern and fresh with high-quality, Australian-made furniture that’s hospital grade but doesn’t look like it belongs in a hospital,” Latifi said.

“We want people to feel more comfortable coming into a nicer space that makes them feel better.”