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Good Patient Room Design Aids Patient Recovery

New research from The University Medical Center of Princeton confirms the importance of design in Patient Recovery


At WHLC, when working on a healthcare project, we strive to design spaces that are tailored to the patient and their needs.  We do this because we believe good healthcare design has something to offer the patient, beyond providing an attractive space where they receive care.  We're not alone in this perspective.  Studies are showing that well-planned, well-executed design can also have a positive impact on patient recovery in healthcare facilities.  An article from the The New York Times, highlighting research from the University Medical Center of Princeton, outlines a dramatic reduction in patient pain as a direct result of well-designed patient rooms. Design techniques specifically referenced in the study include natural views, big windows, sink layout, room orientation, and more. 

Expanded patient room at Lafayette General Hospital improve the patient experience by clearly delineating the patient areas from the staff areas, and offering improved patient access to natural light and exterior views.

Patients requested 30% less pain medication in the case study of well-designed rooms.

In addition to making patients more comfortable, smart design techniques decrease the frequency of staff errors.  These techniques include double-door lock boxes for medications and same handed room design, as opposed to mirrored room design.  

Designing a hospital or healthcare facility from scratch obviously makes integrating these modern approaches easier.  However, many of these strategies can be utilized in a well-planned and thoughtful renovation.  

Completed patient room at Lafayette General Medical Center

WHLC is also cognizant of the fact that each facility may function a little differently.  Within the patient room there are a multitude of program needs and requirements that must be considered.  Multiple user groups must co-exist within the same space.  Considerations for the patients’ needs must be considered, alongside those of the healthcare providers.  Aside from the patient, the patient’s family, staff, and physician’s needs must all be integrated seamlessly.  The patient room must be an efficient, capable, safe space that successfully merges all user group requirements.

When designing the renovation of the Lafayette General Medical Center, WHLC did an intensive study of ways to improve the existing patient rooms.  This study found creative design solutions to solve their existing challenges while also introducing new design strategies that improved patient care and well-being.  This included enlarging the existing rooms by taking in an existing exterior ledge, bringing in more daylight and access to natural views through the use of a continuous glass curtain-wall, and facilitating better patient care by providing staff alcoves immediately adjacent to the patient rooms.  

Rendering of patient room at Thomas Hospital Birthing Center in Fairhope, AL

WHLC implements these best practices in all projects.  At Thomas Hospital Birthing Center in Fairhope, AL, patient rooms were bright and comfortable.  At North Oaks Medical Center in Hammond, LA, patient rooms were efficiently designed and accommodations were made for visitors.

When beginning a healthcare project, WHLC takes all factors into consideration.  Ideally and often, there has been a collaboration on planning for the medical campus which furthers the experience within the building.  The end goal is always to develop a space that is functional for healthcare providers and a comfortable, inspiring space for patients to foster rapid recovery.