While a significant amount of research has been done surrounding the factors that matter most for patient recovery, a recent New York Times article discussed an unexpected factor which could enhance recovery times: the design of a patient’s room.
Several years ago, the University Medical Center of Princeton decided to open a larger facility. Throughout the design process, they engaged their medical staff as well as patients, seeking input on the layout of the new patient rooms. Then, according to the article, something interesting happened:
“Equipment was installed, possible situations rehearsed. Then real patients were moved in from the surgical unit — hip and knee replacements, mostly — to compare old and new rooms. After months of testing, patients in the model room rated food and nursing care higher than patients in the old rooms did, although the meals and care were the same.
But the real eye-opener was this: Patients also asked for 30 percent less pain medication.”
Reduced pain hastens recovery and rehabilitation times. Those figures, in turn, translate into shorter stays, diminished costs and fewer chances for accidents and infections. Today, with the rooms fully operable, patient satisfaction ratings are in the 99th percentile, up from the 61st percentile before the move, and infection and accident rates are lower than ever.
All of this because of the room’s design. It’s so interesting that the healthcare industry continues to form new, innovative ways to care for patients and get them on the path to recovery more quickly. What types of things would you install in your dream patient room?
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