If you like this post, please share:

If you liked this post, please share:

One of my cousins was recently hospitalized with a life-threatening illness.  When I went to visit her after she'd woken up from a coma, there were as many as eight people crowded into her room during the two hours I was there. We sat in folding chairs and stood in corners.  She had the only private room on the unit.

This was a very reputable hospital in Central Illinois -- a college town serving a three-county population of more than 200,000. The hospital gave her good care. But its facilities were dated.

Thanks, in part, to changes in the facility guidelines in 2006, most new hospitals today have private rooms. But what about the old ones?  How many 20-30-year-old smaller hospitals in the middle of the country still have semi-private rooms?

The case for private rooms is well documented.  Evidence-based design research has shown that they contribute to many positive outcomes, including lower infection rates, fewer falls, better sleep, and less medication errors.  All of that adds up to increased patient satisfaction, too -- and better HCAHPS scores.

Is there any reason, other than cost, that hospitals aren't converting to all-private rooms?  If only we had a magic wand to make them all disappear.  Hopefully, as the need for beds declines due to advances in technology and treatment protocols, administrators at these hold out hospitals will see that now is the time to make a change.

Because no one should have to share a hospital room with another patient and eight of her relatives.

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Joseph G. Sprague

11 years ago


rosalinda yap

10 years ago

I do favor private rooms as I had experience that a young patient was doubled up in the room with a dying patient and when the patient passed we had to remove her from the room into another. The patient was very nice that she said she didn't mind but this is the problem with patient sharing room. It's true that when one gets sick they would like to have some privacy quiet room and also it can avoid infecting the roommate too.

Sara Marberry

10 years ago

Not to mention how much even a semi-private room costs in a hospital. How would you like it if you checked into a five-star hotel only to find out that you had a roommate?

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Sara Marberry, EDAC, is a healthcare design knowledge expert, thought catalyst, and strategic marketing and business development consultant. The author/editor of three books, Sara writes and speaks frequently about industry trends and evidence-based design. She can be reached at sara@saramarberry.com.

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