Trillium’s Women’s Health Centre provides high tech care in a healing environment

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The new Betty Wallace Women’s Health Centre at Trillium Health Centre is like a breath of fresh air for women who go there. The spa-like Centre, a one-stop shop for screening and early intervention for breast cancer and osteoporosis, provides high tech diagnostic care in a soothing, non-threatening environment.

The Centre features natural light, warm wood, and beige and lavender tones that help to create a calming, relaxing and comfortable environment. Skylights, plants and windows in all possible rooms, add to the healing ambience. Soft, relaxing music plays in the background throughout the day. A gallery of photos featuring women in all aspects of life, of all ages and of all ethnic backgrounds facilitates a welcoming environment when needed, to allow the mind to wander. Each consultation room also has a pleasant, calming ambience with a furniture type and arrangement that acts as a facilitator, not a barrier, to conversation.

Moving beyond traditional models for outpatient care, Trillium’s Women’s Health Centre seeks to provide a health care environment that nourishes the mind and soul as well as the body.

“We wanted to do everything we could to lessen the anxiety for women, and a comforting, soothing environment can make such a difference when you are facing a potentially serious health issue,” says Dr. Michael Padonou, Trillium’s head of General Surgery.

Research suggests that a woman’s experience of care influences future decisions regarding screening. For example, if a Centre has supportive, caring staff, a non-threatening, welcoming environment and a facility designed to meet a woman’s needs, there is an increased likelihood the woman will return for future visits.The concept for the Women’s Health Centre arose from a participative process involving staff, physicians, patients and community partners. The vision for the Centre was created following a widespread needs assessment of the women in our community and community partners.

In Trillium’s Women’s Health Centre, the space was designed to facilitate behaviour such as patient flow, privacy and a clutter-free environment. Privacy needs are met through public and semi-private waiting spaces. A clutter-free environment is maintained by following the hotel concept where professional space remains separate from patient space and family space. Work is not in full view of the public.

Other innovative features of the Centre include:

  • A barrier-free design that accommodates wheelchairs, offering wide access routes and exam tables that can be electronically raised and lowered.
  • Long lockers for coats and full length attire
  • Curves, not corners, to soften the sterile, clinical effect
  • Education displays.

To accommodate busy women’s schedules, evening and weekend hours are provided. Quick access to the Centre is available through a dedicated entrance with lit signs.

“A beautiful facility only works with the dedication of a strong team committed to meeting patient needs,” says Jo-Anne Oake-Vecchiato, director, Women’s and Children’s Health. “Our architects shared our dream and helped to make it come true.”

Trillium Health Centre’s vision is to be a centre of excellence for women’s health. State-of-the-art services are at the forefront of women’s health issues. An interdisciplinary team provides comprehensive care such as wellness, health promotion and illness prevention, assessment, treatment and referral, to meet the identified needs of women in Mississauga and Etobicoke.