With 35 million Americans admitted to the hospital every year, it’s important they feel comfortable in their surroundings. In a recent study, published in the Journal of Health Environments Research and Design, patients discussed what could be improved upon in hospital rooms.
For many patients, hospital rooms can be stressful for many reasons. To identify enhancements, researchers surveyed 61 patients on what could make the difference in their stay.
“When we’re sick and feeling vulnerable, it’s especially important to feel in control of our surroundings—privacy, room temperature, lighting, window blinds and having our things within reach,” said Emily Patterson, an associate professor in the Ohio State University College of Medicine, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and first author on a study.
The patients from the study had all stayed at least three days in the medical-surgical unit in the last 12 months. Every participant was then given a tour of five different hospital rooms, each of 300 square feet, and asked to report on general room design characteristics. Researchers were able to analyze the data to develop a theoretical design framework of patient expectations.
Patients reported wanting the following:
1. To control their privacy, avoiding being “on display” to people in the hallway.
2. To use the bathroom without being seen or heard.
3. To identify who is entering the room.
4. A sense of security, such as having a safe in the room for valuable items.
5. A sense of connection by having visitors sit closer to have eye-level conversations.
6. Easy access to phones and personal devices along with available outlets for charging devices.
“Some of the findings are inexpensive and possible to incorporate, even without changing architectural design,” said Patterson. “Each change can improve the patient and family experience by reducing unnecessary stress and anxiety and enhancing the healing process.”