Waikato Hospital's integrated older persons and rehabilitation building Hero

Integrated older persons and rehabilitation building enables Waikato Hospital to meet its population’s needs now and into the future

The percentage of people in the Waikato aged 65 and over is projected to increase by 52% between 2012 and 2025/2026. As a result, Waikato District Health Board (WDHB) needed to make sure its older persons and rehabilitation facilities could cater to patients’ health needs into the future. The WDHB required a new, purpose built facility that offered the full range of services to older people in one place.

WDHB’s Aims:

  • To consolidate and streamline services for older people and those having rehabilitation at Waikato Hospital
  • To allow for expansion in the future by building provisions into the new building.

What we did:

We won the contract to build the older persons and rehabilitation building through a competitive tender process.

We constructed this three-storey building between December 2011 and mid-2013. At the time, we were also completing construction of the $130M Meade Medical Clinic, located on the Waikato Hospital campus.

The new building comprises:

  • 113 beds. All patient bedrooms have only one or two beds and ensuite bathrooms. There are also three studio rooms with ensuites and kitchens specially designed for patients with special needs or requiring carer training
  • Large patient and visitor lounges with beautiful views of Hamilton’s Lake Rotorua. We deliberately made the views the focal point in each of these areas
  • Beverage bays
  • Gym for rehabilitation, exercising and socialising
  • Lots of space. Many areas have lovely views of trees or the Hamilton Lake
  • Three courtyards designed to be part of the care and rehabilitation environment, and where patients and families can socialise. One courtyard has slopes and stairs that will help patients’ physical rehabilitation and gaining the confidence to handle challenges when they leave hospital
  • Centralised outpatient services
  • A 45 metre enclosed pedestrian overbridge connecting the new facility with the existing hospital.


  • houses both the current Mental Health Services for Older People (MHSOP) and the Assessment Treatment and Rehabilitation Service (AT & R) providing a more integrated and co-ordinated approach to care 
  • provides a broad range of rehabilitation services for both young and old, with a focus on provision of specialist mental and physical healthcare
  • enables more improvements in services whether they are delivered in hospital, in the community or through general practitioners
  • significantly expands services to meet future ageing population needs
  • ensures stroke patients with complex needs get the best care
  • provides integrated mental health services for older people

This facility is well-designed for the Waikato and regional patients who will be cared for in it. Its design has been future-proofed to allow for expansion, with an extra ward and a roof that can cope with additional levels if needed.

Unique challenges:

  • Constructing the 45 metre link bridge over Pembroke Street, which connects the new older persons and rehabilitation building with the existing hospital, required innovative thinking and meticulous planning. We constructed the bridge offsite and then transported it along State Highway 1 and craned it into position in one evening.
  • Ensuring that our work did not interfere with the operations of the emergency department and other hospital buildings. These needed to be fully functional during construction. We programmed all major structural works involving cranes, piling, heavy machinery and road closures around the hospital’s daily procedures. We liaised closely with stakeholders and the hospital to ensure it was able to function at full capacity throughout the entire project.

The outcome:

The new future-proofed facility brings together the care of older people with medical conditions, orthopaedic fractures or fragility, or mental health conditions, as well as people of any age who have had a stroke or need intensive rehabilitation.

It gives WDHB the flexibility it needs to ensure older people and rehabilitation health needs are met now and into the future. 

What we have . . . is a more dignified environment - one which our older people, who have contributed enormously to our society, fully deserve. It is a new building that honours the older generation and treats them as special people.

Colin Patrick

Clinical Director