The Vitos Clinic in the small German town of Hadamar specialises in helping patients overcome troubled pasts and prepare for new lives free of drugs and crime.
Its forensic psychiatry unit treats victims of addiction and mentally ill offenders with diminished responsibility, and strives to help them develop the skills necessary for social reintegration.
New Cutting-edge Facility
Vitos has housed forensic patients in Hadamar for almost 40 years. But in May 2016, it gained a new lease of life when the doors opened to a brand new facility geared to its cutting-edge clinical approach. The €40 million rebuild has brought a range of services previously spread between several outdated buildings into a single, state-of-the-art complex.
Facilities Adapted to Patients’ Specific Needs
WSP was project manager on the scheme, which was funded by the state of Hesse as part of a wider hospital renovation programme and has capacity for 162 patients across eight wards. Every aspect of its three interconnected buildings is designed to meet the needs of the specific set of patients treated here, many of whom lack basic social competence as a result of drug abuse or broken family relationships. Carefully balancing security and freedom, the clinic is set up to cultivate a sense of responsibility and society.
Ensuring Safety and Efficiency
Construction was carried out in phases, while maintaining the hospital in operation. The site was secured by a large safety wall with an advanced distance strip and was monitored by elaborate safety technology. The wall was adapted throughout the construction phase to ensure the smooth and safe running of the entire hospital operation.
Due to the size of the project and the large number of contributors involved, it required a high degree of communication in order to achieve the project targets and to maintain efficient coordination between the ministry, builder, architects and planners as well as audit authorities.
Designs that Provide Patients with Independence and Privacy
Where possible, patients are given privacy with single and double rooms, but they are also grouped into small communities, with kitchens and lounges shared between a maximum of seven people. The clinic encourages residents to take control of various aspects of their lives, including cooking, cleaning and laundry, and provides them with an allowance to cover expenses, which they must budget themselves. A café, visitors’ room, gym and playing fields can also be accessed openly within the secure area, while large, bright corridors and warm colours create a welcoming ambience.
The new facility meets the stringent security standards required by a forensic institution, with specially designed gates, extensive video surveillance and a five-metre high wall around the entire complex, among other features. But thanks to the latest in security technology, it is also easy to move around, ensuring a better healing – and working – environment for all.