- Private rooms have been critical in advancing the acuity-adaptable model of care.
- Decentralized medication storage has been proven to make a tremendous difference in medication errors.
- Aesthetic choices can be directly related to treatment for some patient populations
Evidence-based design is doing some amazing things in healthcare, but it’s hard to understand the real impact and potential until you look at real-world examples. That’s why we’ve put together a few that we’ve determined tell the story of how big an impact evidence-based design has on the healthcare industry.
The Private Room Difference
Private rooms aren’t just a luxury. They’re also one of the most impactful examples of evidence-based design in action.
Take Dublin Methodist Hospital in Ohio for example. They’ve seen great success in their infection control initiative, in part because of changes to their physical environment. According to Lamon Yoder, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, “Private rooms are not just for the luxury of having a private room. They’re actually for the [patient’s] outcome afterward.”
Private rooms also result in fewer transfers, meaning less risk of falls and increased patient comfort. Dublin’s design is a product of their acuity adaptable model of care, which stresses keeping patients in the same room until discharge, regardless of their treatment. All of their rooms are highly adaptable meaning medical equipment and nurses are brought to the patients themselves.
“We don’t have geographically delineated locations for certain types of patients. We don’t have a medical floor, then a surgical floor, and then an intensive-care unit (ICU).”
Decentralized Medication Storage
While private rooms answer many care challenges, they also open up new problems. Patients might end up even farther away from medication and supplies, making work harder for nurses and potentially increasing the chance for error.
Enter the private medication cabinet.
Medication administration becomes faster, more efficient, and more accurate with the use of small, locked cabinets in patient rooms. This decentralized approach to medication means that each patient has their own, individual cabinet, greatly reducing the chance that doses will be mixed up or confused. Clarian Health Partners in Indianapolis applied this concept with significant results.
When they replaced their multi-level ICU with variable acuity-adaptable rooms (outfitted with locked medication cabinets), they saw an almost 70 percent decrease in medication errors. This was in addition to a 90 percent reduction in transfers and a decrease in hospital expenses.
Some facilities have even incorporated activity monitoring to not just cut back on errors, but also address drug diversion issues.
Aesthetics That Make a Difference
The hospital of the future looks nothing like the cold, clinical environments that used to define medical practice. This is especially true in environments where the visual impact of the physical environment is directly related to care results. Trinity Rock Island UnityPoint and the changes they’ve made to their ED are an amazing example of this dynamic.
Behavioral health emergencies are unique, but the requirements around design frequently result in spaces that feel isolating and stark. These types of spaces can easily exacerbate a patient’s condition. This is even truer in acute emergency settings where behavioral health patients often enter through the ED.
Trinity Rock decided they needed to change their patients’ experience and kicked off an evidence-based design project with the goal of creating a behavioral health setting in their ED. They decided on the creation of a crisis stabilization unit (CSU) that included a “living room” to improve patient care and support their staff’s efforts to consult and treat a broader range of emergent visitors.
The CSU separates behavioral health patients from the main ED area and helps in avoiding unnecessary inpatient admissions. The “living room” focuses on aesthetics and looks very similar to a living room you’d find in your home with artwork, wood millwork, and a fish tank. The aesthetic is meant to be soothing and help patients relax and de-escalate.
These examples, though, are just the start. If you’re interested in implementing evidence-based design principles at your hospital or long-term care facility, this article is an excellent starting point.