If being better put together can help you feel better, but can you feel better just by recovering in a better designed hospital room? The tentative answer to this question—according to The University Medical Center of Princeton—is yes!
They redesigned the hospital room due to their need for new facilities, and these new rooms were far different improved from the old ones– but not exactly how you may think. The rooms were not significantly more extravagant or significantly more high-tech, but included simple design changes that made a world of difference.
The new rooms consisted of only one patient, as research showed that patients revealed far less about their condition and recovery to doctors when in shared rooms. There was also ample space for visitors, because the presence of family and friends has been shown to decrease recovery time! The new rooms also feature natural light because of its tendency to boost morale in patients, and sinks in plain sight to encourage doctors and nurses to wash their hands and patients to be aware of doctor’s good hygiene and feel more confident. The rooms are also better designed in that they are all “same handed” and facing the same direction; this helps doctors and nurses so they don’t have to keep switching directions from room to room, and it decreases errors made by pressing the wrong buttons on equipment.
The new rooms had an immediate effect on the patients placed to try them out. Not only did they rate the quality of care higher even though it was the same as the standard room, but they also asked for 30% less pain medication, thus decreasing recovery time, and subsequently the time that patients are in the hospital and vulnerable to infection.
Naturally, there are lots of variables in hospital design and we cannot draw evidence as conclusive as in a drug study, for example. But it’s clear in the photos of the designs that although the rooms aren’t luxurious, they provide the patient with dignity, and from our own experience, that in itself can go a long way to helping patients feel better. Although these results are by no means conclusive, here at Curasanas we think it aligns with the notion that generally feeling more put together– which can include recovering in a hospital room that gives dignity, is more functional and looks better– can help a person feel better and, hopefully, proceed faster down the path of wellness. We hope that, where it makes sense, more hospitals may be able to execute on this trend, so everyone can feel better already.
Cover Image courtesy of NYTimes.