Hospital Rooms With a Better View and Better Care

The staff at the University Medical Center at Princeton will soon assign one patient at a time to a newly built room, designed partly with staff input, housed on a post-surgical floor.

Designed using research funded with a $2.8 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the rooms have ushered Princeton into the growing field of health-care design.

Some of the benefits of these new rooms are:

– Less errors by hospital staff because of the increased personal care

– More calming atmosphere leading to a quicker healing time

– More personal atmosphere

– Infection prevention due to location of cabinets, toilet, and sink

– Less falling for seniors due to layout of the room

– Hotel-like

More hospitals have started to rethink how patient rooms can improve the occupant’s health. They’re seeking to reduce the spread of infections, the rise in patient falls, and the healing benefits of outdoor views. Patient falls are common in hospitals, and 10% of fatal falls by older adults happen there, according to data compiled by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Single rooms are becoming standard, Ms. Lorenz said, because research shows that the privacy reduces infection rates and enhances communication between staff and patients.

The room has two-way cabinets (above), allowing housekeeping staff to resupply the linen and medicines from the hallway, and letting clinical staff grab them from inside the patient’s room. That may help reduce traffic in patient rooms and therefore, infection rates. But Lopa Patel, a floor nurse, said that staff must still walk in and out, fetching antibiotics and narcotics from elsewhere.

Currently, the rooms are assigned at random until there are more of them and are becoming more popular.

Princeton is hoping that the trend catches on and other hospitals begin a similar architectural design.

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