Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hospital Design: Hello, a real person will be in that bed! (a rant)

I just saw an ad on a design site showing a patient's room.  One look at the bed brought me right back to the horrors of one particular hospital - losing my purse and phone and call button on the floor myriad times because the "cute" bed rails let everything go over the side.  In this ad photo, as in rehab, there is no nightstand-with-drawer for the glasses, the cell phone, the notebook for notes to the doctor.

There is a window, and outside the window is a view.  Unfortunately, the bed is low, and there is furniture in front of the window. The bed would have to be taller than mine have been, or the patient would never see the view.

Hospital rooms are for people.  They are not marketing photo ops.

The very best way for healthcare designers to begin is to take a stranger who has been a disregarded patient in the past.  Put that patient in the driver's seat before you get to the street the hospital is on.  You sit silently in the back with your notebook, writing down what makes the patient grit her teeth to avoid cussing as she learns the building numbers cannot be seen from the car unless she drives with the door open.  Until she learns there is no sign for Main Entrance.

If this "sample" patient is really sick, give her a tape recorder (you may have to tie it to those "cartoon") bed rails,to use at times like when her chocolate bar has vanished from her suitcase into the black hole closet, along with her spare underwear and dental appliances. Like when she is trying to explain to the staff that her hiatal hernia requires 5 small meals, and the promised yogurt has been eaten by the staff.

After all there's a flatscreen featuring health advice plus David and Bathsheba. And a bedraggled copy of A Photo Guide to Your Rectal Surgery.  And wireless access for when someone helps her get her phone back off the floor, again.

So never mind the evidence about views of nature getting patients out of the hospital a day faster. Never mind that the hospital remodel cut the nature view out of the small rooms.  After all, she has a good doctor.

(Yes, I know there are some good rooms (just not enough.)  And I wish you health.)

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