St Benedict’s Hospice

In 2009 St Benedict’s Hospice and Centre for Specialist Palliative Care relocated from Monkwearmouth Hospital to a brand new, £12 million state-of-the-art building in Ryhope, a coastal village along the southern boundary of the City of Sunderland. The hospice, which sits within a larger hospital setting, provides integrated palliative care and is home to community nursing teams and an education centre.

Working with:
Client: NHS Property Services Architect: P+HS Contractor: Willmott Dixon


The project timeline:
March 2009:
Appointed to develop signage May 2009:
Signage manufacture and installation

External signage at St Benedict's Hospice
External healthcare wayfinding and signage with a map of the hospice grounds
External directional healthcare wayfinding and signage
Door manifestation detailing

The design of the wayfinding scheme at St Benedict’s is based on NHS guidelines, adapted to make it more appropriate for the hospice.

Large format directional signage at St Benedict's Hospice
Wayfinding and internal signage with wall mounted lettering
Detail of wall mounted directional signage
Internal directional door signage
Projecting toilet signage with pictograms
Window manifestations with design-led graphics and wave motif
Wall mounted signage with floral pictogram to a roof garden
Detail of wave motif window manifestation across opening doors to garden
Quiet room signage with sliding detail to indicate room use
3D lettering for the education suite
Toilet door signage with pictograms
Internal door signage and statutory signage
External fire assembly point signage
External healthcare wayfinding and signage

What Sarah said:

“Wayfinding in any facility where palliative care is required should just ‘be there’ and guide users in finding their way around without too much thought or effort.”

Sarah Phillips | Picto

St Benedict’s Hospice

The architect’s vision for St Benedict’s Hospice was to create the feel of a hotel, a sense of peace and serenity and where there was plentiful access to outdoor spaces.

A non-institutional approach to healthcare wayfinding

We were mindful that the signage and wayfinding for St Benedict’s needed to be clear and simple, yet non-institutional. Working in close consultation with architects P+HS and hospice staff, we took the principles from the NHS signage guidelines and modified them to create a signage scheme that would marry with the new building and surrounding landscape.

Setting and working to a set client budget

Working to a set client budget, which had been based on using standard NHS style signage, we used colour and materials to tie in with the architect’s finishes and added pictograms. We also ensured information was presented at a scale appropriate to each location, avoiding sign overload or large signs in small spaces, as can happen at some healthcare sites. To reflect the hospice’s location and the importance of the surrounding natural environment, we developed a decorative manifestation design, referencing the building’s proximity to the coast.

Wayfinding for external spaces

The grounds of St Benedict’s Hospice offer beautiful views and fresh air for patients. Signage is positioned to encourage both patients and visitors to use the outdoor spaces.