The Observatory

First look at Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital’s new Emergency Department

The new Emergency Department at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital aims to be a calming space for patients, staff and volunteers. Rachel Furolo recently visited the hospital in East Melbourne to see the newly launched Emergency Department in action.
Just days after the Emergency Department (ED) doors were officially opened by the Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy, I took a walk through the new facility which has been completely revamped as part of the hospital’s overall redevelopment project.  
My first reaction to the new fit out is how light the space is. Where the ED was once small and cramped, with no natural light and dated furnishings, the space is now modernised and fresh.
The signage is notably clearer and the streamlined loop-around design provides a clear layout that is easier for staff and patients to navigate. 
My guide tells me designers have worked hard to create a welcoming and warm space for patients. The windows facing Victoria Parade on the city fringe have been carefully placed to showcase the greenery among the towering buildings, while the neutral tones in the waiting area and consultation rooms create a calm and welcoming atmosphere.
It’s clear that the new design has been greatly received from not only patients but for staff as well, with both staff and volunteers reporting an increase in morale since the redevelopment. 
Volunteers can be seen welcoming patients on arrival, explaining where they need to go and helping to relieve any anxiety that patients might be experiencing. 
One volunteer, Brenda, a former teacher who has been volunteering at the hospital for the past two years, tells me that the old emergency department could get stuffy and a bit cramped when it was busy.
As we make our way around the department, I learn that for the 40,000 patients that present to the hospital with eye and ear related emergencies each year, the ED will also provide an increased level of patient care. 
The overhaul is part of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital’s redevelopment project which is due for completion in 2018.
More information can be found here