Patient Safety, by Design

Designers and architects play a key role when it comes to patient safety. Studies have shown that architecture and design have a direct impact on patient safety and can even speed up how quickly a child can return home. Packard Children’s new design streamlines protocols and processes to promote healing and make the environment safer for young patients, families, and caregivers.

Single rooms not only provide quiet and privacy for families, they also cut down on the potential spread of infection. “Private rooms are not just for the luxury of having a private room,” says Jill Sullivan, MSN, RN, vice president of hospital transformation. “They’re actually designed to create a safe place to heal and improve the patient’s outcome.”

Private rooms also mean that patients do not need to be moved around; instead, rooms are adaptable so medical equipment and nurses can be brought to the patient, which also reduces infection rates. To encourage diligent hand hygiene, patient rooms have been designed with a sink by the door for hand washing—the most effective method for reducing infection in a hospital. Hand sanitizers will be easily accessible throughout the hospital corridors and waiting areas. Rooms are spacious, providing 360-degree access for caregivers around a patient’s bed while allowing parents to keep their child in view. Doors to the bathrooms are extra-wide to allow easy access in case of emergency.

Changes large and small have been incorporated to make caregivers’ jobs more efficient and streamlined, which cuts down the potential for error. Medication alcoves have been integrated near each unit nurse station to create a well-lit, quiet, private space to prepare and sort drugs without distraction. A red light over the doorway will let staff know that the nurse inside should not be interrupted.

Computer consoles between each room will allow nurses and physicians to update medical records and access important information close to the patient. These decentralized workstations also help to enhance communication between various specialists and during shift changes.

Large hallway windows will allow nurses to keep an eye on a patient without having to enter the room, giving patients and families as much peace and quiet as possible. A nurse station by the doorway will keep important supplies right where they’re needed, eliminating the need for extra steps to gather necessary material. Planners estimate the layouts will cut down the steps nurses must walk each day by 50 percent, cutting down on fatigue and stress, and saving more time to meet patients’ needs.


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