Margaret’s Place Hospice at St. Joseph’s Villa
Margaret’s Place Hospice in Dundas, Ontario is designed to be the antithesis of a traditional hospital, while maintaining all the infrastructure to provide excellence in care for its terminally ill residents. The design walked this delicate balance by connecting the hospice with its natural surroundings, paying attention to every detail that would support meaning, comfort and peace for residents, their families and caregivers. The 25,000 SF hospice opened in September 2021 to its first residents.
Nestled on the edge of a wooded ravine, the site became the inspiration for the design.
“Designing a space for hospice care had to be different than our typical healthcare work. When we first visited the site, we recognized how special it was. Here was a unique chance to connect residents, families and caregivers to this natural sensory experience, one that could help them on their personal journeys,” says Joanne McCallum, Executive Director and co-founder of mcCallumSather. “So, every design decision that followed prioritized the connection to nature.”
Down each corridor to the left and right of the central atrium, resident’s rooms line one side of the halls. All of the rooms feature walls of windows overlooking the ravine; convertible chairs that turn into beds for guests who want to remain close; fireplaces and televisions; walls for family photographs, making each space personal; and a private, fully accessible en-suite. An innovative detail – each room has a private, covered deck, with patio doors designed larger than standard, allowing patient beds to be wheeled outside.
The home-like feel had to seamlessly blend with resident care, and that is where technology helped. Residents can adjust their own lighting, blinds, heating, cooling, fireplaces, TV and phone from a tablet. The integrated system, touch or voice command controlled, adapts depending on an individual’s abilities, and connects to the nursing system to ensure patients are fully supported. Lining the opposite side of each corridor are nursing stations, therapy rooms, and quiet spaces for families, the essential functions of the healthcare space, but where the views are not of primary importance.
The wood-framed structure uses rustic Douglas-fir columns, natural cedar, hand-cut and carved stone. Each material was measured against their warmth and home-like qualities, as well as durability, ease to clean, ability to meet infection control standards and adhered to newly developed provincial guidelines with no VOC.
At the end of each corridor are smaller, more intimate family living rooms, one with a library and large window seat. At the heart of the facility is a great room, with double height ceilings and stunning views, providing the backdrop for a kitchen and dining, living room, children’s area and expansive deck.