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Royal Melbourne Hospital - Stroke Care Unit

Breakthrough in stroke care drives active, integrated design supporting faster recovery


Stroke is one of Australia’s major causes of death and disability, but exciting new treatments like Endovascular Clot Retrieval (ECR) are significantly improving patient outcomes. ECR is a time-critical, technically challenging treatment that teams specialists in neuro-intervention with stroke patients for several days of high-intervention rehabilitation that starts within 24 hours of clot removal. The latest research shows the greatest benefits of ECR are achieved when blood flow is restored early.

Royal Melbourne is one of the providers of this new innovative procedure. Previously its stroke unit was co-located with neurosurgery, epilepsy and neurology and operating at capacity. This purpose-built Stroke Care Unit (SCU) is designed to centralise ECR services and enable 24-hour intervention, improve links to departments like Emergency and Radiology, increase bed capacity, and introduce teaching, training and research facilities that support patient care and staff development. It also includes a higher proportion of single-bed patient rooms to improve recovery times and control of hospital acquired infections and reduce length of stay and the likelihood of adverse events associated with hospitalisation.

“Stroke is a massive global problem. In 2015-16 The RMH treated over 1200 strokes. We believe this figure will increase given the rise in chronic health conditions … and increasing recognition of the signs and symptoms of stroke and the need for immediate medical attention.”

Professor Stephen Davis, RMH Director of Neurology


The SCU accommodates short-stay, high-needs patients for several crucial days before they transfer to a general ward to continue recovery. The design integrates a rehabilitation gym, family room and clinical and caregiver support facilities in a central hub. Radiating out from this, spoke-style, are rooms for 10 High-Dependency Unit beds and 21 inpatient beds. In lieu of a central staff station, a small staff workbench is located outside each pair of rooms to facilitate high staff-patient ratios and enable continuous oversight. Each HDU bedroom is fronted by a glazed wall, which can be switched to opaque when privacy is required.

Softly curved forms, abundant natural light, warm natural tones within the selected material finishes, cosy meeting nooks and plentiful seating outside bedrooms help create a welcoming interior that encourages impromptu patient walks and interactions. The design supports contemporary best practice principles of patient centred, integrated care.


Staff and patients alike are overwhelmingly positive about the impact of a purpose-built facility designed to improve patient care and outcomes. Co-locating key services in the unit’s core removes the need to shuttle patients to appointments in different departments, thereby increasing valuable recovery time. Switchable glazing maximises lines of sight, making staff oversight of high-dependency patients far easier and more efficient. Diverse, attractive spaces to walk, meet and rest are motivating patients to get up and about as soon as they can and to stay active throughout their stay.

Our health team’s ongoing involvement in projects at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and our robust stakeholder engagement process helped us review operational and patient flows and achieve the desired efficiencies, patient privacy and comfort. The design meets current clinical and operational needs and provides the flexibility to accommodate future needs and emerging technologies.


Level 8, Building 1B, 300 Grattan Street, Parkville



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