Private hospital rooms are becoming the standard of care
Whenever I’ve visited a friend or relative in a “semi-private” (translation: not private) room, I’ve found the idea of having a roommate in the hospital irritating. But when I’ve asked about it, I’ve always been told that sharing a room contributes to the healing process by reducing the sense of isolation. I’ve accepted that logic in the past, figuring maybe I was just thinking of how I would feel –introvert and non-TV watcher that I am– in such a situation.
But apparently my intuition was right. New guidelines from the Facilities Guidance Institute and the American Institute of Architects’ Academy of Architecture for Health call for private hospital rooms in new facilities. And the damnation of shared rooms goes well beyond my petty complaints.
Apparently, private rooms:
- Are safer –because there are fewer medication mixups among roommates, because the risk of infection is lower, and because there are fewer falls
- Help patients recover faster –since patients sleep better and don’t have to deal with another patient’s visitors
- Have a higher occupancy rate –since there is no longer a need to match up same-sex roommates
- Are more compatible with HIPAA –since they have walls instead of curtains between beds
All of this actually makes private rooms cheaper, despite the increased square footage per patient required.
Going to the hospital can be like going to hell. Private rooms may ease the journey at least a bit.
See more in the Wall Street Journal.March 24, 2006