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Palmerston North Acute Mental Health

Functional Re-design

feature_Palmerston North Acute Mental Health

Project Information

Destravis was engaged by MidCentral District Health Board (MDHB) to explore options to improve the acute mental health unit at Palmerston North Hospital.

The primary project objective was to resolve safety, compliance and functional issues of the inpatient unit. Overwhelming evidence suggests that the current environment is not fit for its intended purpose. The design of the existing Open Ward does not facilitate observation of consumers, nor foster an environment of recovery and wellbeing. The impression of the unit is cold, hard, sterile, institutional and lacking in any homelike aspects.

While future options consider new building, a short-term solution was required.

Following a functional assessment, departmental observations and a return functional brief, Destravis delivered high level concept options for the development of fit for purpose environment that promotes wellbeing and safety for patients, visitors and staff.

Options developed by Destravis extended from light, medium and extensive refurbishment to the ward.  The concept informs a feasibility study for refurbishment.

The short-term solution will facilitate management of patient and staff risk until the new facility is constructed.

Through varying levels of staged refurbishment, the options propose expansion of both internal and external spaces of the existing unit.  The new facility plan enables the following planning outcomes:

  • Safety
  • Therapeutic
  • Meets individual needs
  • Autonomy
  • Privacy
  • Partnership
  • Protection
  • Participation.

MidCentral District Health Board


New Zealand



Project Scope:

Functional re-design of acute unit

Destravis Role:

Health Planner