PJ Care’s Eagle Wood Neurological Care Centre shortlisted for national design award

The £10 million centre, on Bretton Way, was opened last summer. With five separate purpose designed units and a state-of-the-art therapy centre, it can provide individual specialist care for up to 105 people in a homely environment. The building caters for all long-term neurological conditions, as well as neurological rehabilitation, temporal dementias and high-dependency complex care.

The Pinders Awards celebrate the best buildings and developments in health care across Britain. PJ Care’s CEO Neil Russell said: “It’s a real achievement to have been included as a finalist for such a prestigious award. Every aspect of the centre has been designed with residents, their family and friends, and with staff in mind, and it also manages to fit in superbly and sympathetically with the surrounding landscape.

“To be a finalist for this award means great recognition for everyone here. So much hard work has gone into creating the development we have at Eagle Wood. We’re very proud of it, and believe we are setting new standards in the industry.”

Each award finalist has been given £500 to donate to their chosen charity. PJ Care has picked Headway Cambridgeshire which provides advice and support for people with brain injuries, as well as their families and carers. The charity holds regular therapy sessions at Eagle Wood for people in the local community who have suffered brain injuries.

Eagle Wood was designed by Surrey-based group PRC and built by Cardiff construction firm Castleoak, which specialises in building for the care sector. Management at PJ Care were involved in every step of the design and insisted that every one of the bedrooms was extra-large with an en-suite bathroom, and that they were designed in clusters around open communal spaces, connected by wide corridors.

Five separate self-contained units at the centre each provide a distinct type of care tailored to different aspect of neurological nursing, ranging from slow-stream rehabilitation, through to maintenance and critical care, to full palliative care. The feeling of space at Eagle Wood encourages residents to be as active as possible. There’s a secluded roof garden, quiet corners allow residents and their family members to sit and relax, and residents can make use of attractive sun terraces.

A unique part of the interior is the use of colour-coded chairs all set at slightly different heights, easily recognisable by the residents. Externally, the steeply-pitched slate roofs have attractive dormer windows, and the soft-toned brickwork and timber features give the centre a gentle, welcoming look. There is also a hydrotherapy spa pool, a gym, an art therapy centre and a coffee shop in the spacious entrance hall.

Jon Chapman, a director at Pinders which organises the annual awards and part of the judging panel said it was difficult choosing finalists because the standard of entries was so high.

“While the appearance and styling of the building is of interest to us,” said Mr Chapman “of far greater importance is how the design benefits the people who use the care centre – the residents, their families and the staff. When we started organising the awards 14 years ago care home design was still quite basic and the improvement has been dramatic as innovative new ideas have continued to emerge. Despite the negative media coverage, there are lots of excellent care facilities, like Eagle Wood, being developed around the country by people with vision as to how good care should be provided.”

Mary Goode, chief executive at Headway Cambridgeshire, said: “It has been wonderful for us to be able to have regular day care therapy sessions at Eagle Wood.  The centre is a lovely, welcoming and relaxing place for people to visit, and it’s a tremendous boost for us to be able to offer our services in such a beautiful environment. The staff and management here are particularly kind and supportive of what we are trying to achieve. Times are tough for all charity organisations at the moment, so the support we are receiving from PJ Care is especially welcome.”