Oct 7, 2009

Patient Room Design

There is so much to say about patient rooms. My general approach is to see it from the patient's perspective. It is suggested that room doors should be located “patient right”, where the door is to the right-hand side of the patient bed. Since around 90% of the population is right-handed, I cant' object to that. Another worth-mentioning best practice is to locate the toilet room door on the same side of the head wall, so patient has the option to lean on to the wall in case mobility assistance is needed.

Patient Room of the Future

In patient rooms, where flexibility is the key factor, the question seems to be: what will the adaptable patient room of the future be like? You must consider healthcare trends, characteristics of future patients, resource limitations, rising costs, and technology. However, about the technology of the future, keep in mind that the rule of thumb is: do not project more than 7 years ahead. Otherwise, you can end up with something like the image below, the humongous 2004 computer of the future, decades ahead of its time....

In a healthcare world that is heavily gravitating towards patient-centered services, and where technology moves at exponential speeds, this seems like a tricky task for our healthcare planners. I'm confident the best trends are just around the corner.

Handed versus Mirrored Rooms

Traditionally, mirrored rooms have been preferred as their construction allows for shared head walls and plumbing walls. So the thought was that sharing wet walls should mean savings in construction costs.

On the other hand, same-handed rooms seem to be favorable for medical staff -although no tangible evidence is available yet. With every room being identical, medical staff would be able to access the exact same layout, reducing the possibility of medical errors. What's more, it is suggested that same-handed rooms can project lower costs. Architects can document same-handed items, contractors can build same-handed rooms faster, and health care organizations would only acquire/replace/track same-handed room equipment and furniture.

My preference, same-handed layouts. What say you?

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