Cintocare Hospital – A Place for Healing

A healthy building makes for healthy people. That is the philosophy behind the recently opened Cintocare Hospital, South Africa’s first green hospital, a place of healing and not just treatment.

The fact that our environment has a major effect on our health and wellbeing is long-recognised, a fact that is now increasingly reflected by architects and developers in buildings around the world, and one that has specific implications for healthcare.

This is the very basis on which the Cintocare Hospital was designed and built in Tshwane, Pretoria. Cintocare is the first healthcare facility on the African continent that has been awarded a “5 Green Star” rating from the Green Building Council South Africa, and the 5th in the world.

“A green design has been found to deliver 15% faster recovery rates, a 22% reduction in the need for pain medication, an 11% reduction in secondary infections, and an 8.5% reduction in hospital stays,” says Ms Ineke Jonker, Marketing and Communications Manager.

Construction began in July 2018 and the Hospital opened its doors on 1 December 2020 – five months after its initial launch date due to the pandemic. The hospital consists of 100 beds and five operating theatres, including a hybrid theatre, with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced medical imaging devices that permit minimally invasive surgery. The first three floors are for parking, the fourth is for reception and consulting rooms, while the remaining floors have operating theatres and other medical rooms.

Green Building

The 29,000 m², seven-storey building, designed by A3 Architects, is situated in the Menlyn Maine Precinct of Tshwane, with direct access to the Central Square shopping centre – also a Green Star-rated development.

The design and construction of the project incorporate various sustainable design and management features, focused not only on creating an exceptional facility and space for healing and wellness but also ensuring that the facility operates exactly as intended once operational.

Many studies show that natural light promotes healing for patients, and also promotes the general wellbeing of people working within the facility itself – Cintocare’s glazed façade ensures that 92% of the bedded areas have access to daylight and external views. The enhanced indoor environment quality includes acoustic measures to lower internal noise, and finishes that have low or no VOCs.

To improve the indoor environment quality and provide occupants with a connection to nature, Cintocare is set to install one plant unit for every 25 m² of regularly occupied space.

The building is also highly energy-efficient, with an expected energy consumption reduction of 63% over a notional SANS 204 compliant building, and with the overall water consumption of the building expected to be at least 30% less when compared to a notional best practice building.

The entire building is delivered as an integrated fit-out, eliminating waste from immediate tenant refits and ultimately reduces resource and material use, with 70% of construction waste diverted from landfill by being reused or recycled.

Other green building features include high levels of thermal comfort for 95% of the usable area, a recycling waste storage facility, a rainwater storage tank for routine fire protection, entryway walk-off mats which capture particulates from occupants’ shoes, and the creation and implementation of a sustainable procurement guide.

“Another unique selling point is that Cintocare is also South Africa’s first hospital to generate its own oxygen on demand using an installed PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) plant,” Ms Jonker points out.

Combination of human & technological excellence

The hospital’s multidisciplinary team approach will provide complementing expertise in the various fields, making this a world-class centre of excellence. The hospital will focus exclusively on head and neck, spinal and vascular surgery with highly specialised medical professionals including neurosurgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, otorhinolaryngologists, reconstructive surgeons, paediatricians, physicians, intensivists, radiologists, pathologists, audiologists as well as speech and swallowing therapists.

“We are setting a new standard, and leading the way, in order to stand head and shoulders above the rest,” says Ineke Jonker. “Our mission is to inspire hope by providing a safe environment driven by human excellence, enhanced through technology. We aspire to be the leading provider of advanced surgical techniques with life-changing outcomes.”

Human resources are at the core of the hospital’s excellence. “We are a new business and our goal is to create a culture, specific to Cintocare beliefs. Employee recognition is a big focus and further initiatives will be implemented in the near future,” says Ms Jonker.

She further explains that Maine Radiology based at Cintocare is equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology. This includes United Imaging CT with a very fast rotation time of 0.3 s to capture the best temporal resolution.

“Using the AI-assisted scanner, the patient receives a much lower X-ray dose,” says Ms Jonker. “The unique Z-detector design with minimal transmission loss and real-time dose modulation together with an iterative denoising reconstruction algorithm ensure the lowest dose to the patient with the best image quality. Planning can be done very easily on CT. The patient just receives a small venous injection of contrast media instead of being catheterised into the femoral artery in an angio-suite.”

The United Imaging CT system is also eco-friendly with a lower carbon footprint. Needing a lower X-ray dose to achieve high-quality images not only protects the patient but also helps the environment as the system uses less power.

The hospital also has a United Imaging Healthcare uMR780 3Tesla MRI with one of the most powerful gradients and one of the best magnetic homogeneities in South Africa, with zero liquid helium boil-off which makes it very eco-friendly and cost-saving.

The combination of human expertise and advanced technology is the basis of Cintocare’s journey – to provide service excellence and compassionate patient care, in a positive, green working environment that promotes the wellbeing of both patients and staff.

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