Whether you’re a visitor or a patient, if you’re like most people, your goal is to get in and out of a hospital as quickly as possible. That’s because most hospitals are brightly lit, noisy, sterile environments.
Yet, a revolution is happening to make hospitals more comfortable using “evidence-based design.”
The goal of the movement is to improve hospital layout and aesthetics to create a safer and less stressful environment for patients and healthcare workers. This, in turn, can improve patient outcomes and prevent the spread of hospital-acquired infections.
Rethinking Hospital Design
Hospitals are some of the most expensive facilities to build, yet for decades they’ve suffered from poor design that actually delays healing and leads to worse patient outcomes.
Most hospitals are still designed with features that have been shown to stress patients out, elevate their blood pressure and heart rate, and slow healing. These include sound-reflecting hard surfaces, harsh lighting, inadequate privacy barriers, and sterile furnishings and décor.
Glass partitions can help hospitals and clinics improve patient experience. Here are three benefits of using patient room partitions with sliding glass doors.
- Privacy: As one doctor laments, privacy remains a challenge in hospitals, despite laws meant to protect patient privacy (HIPAA). He points to research showing that the thin curtains typically used to separate patients in non-private rooms make patients less likely to disclose their full medical history and more likely to refuse parts of their physical exam. They also make it more likely that doctors will breach patient privacy by discussing a patient’s personal health matters within earshot of other people in the same room. Replacing curtains with glass partitions can help protect patient privacy and create a more comfortable space in shared patient rooms.
- Safety: Healthcare-associated infections are a major problem at hospitals across the country. Housing patients together makes the problem worse. Private rooms reduce the risk of infection transmission through the air and by touching contaminated surfaces. But retrofitting to create exclusively private rooms is not always possible or economically feasible. Floor-to-ceiling room dividers with sliding glass doors are an affordable way to help reduce the spread of infections.
- Noise Reduction and Aesthetics: Noise levels in the average hospital far exceed guideline-based recommendations. This puts undue stress on patients and makes it difficult to sleep, which is vital for recovery. Earplugs and quieter conversations among staff can help.
Additionally, research has found that patients placed closer to a window who are exposed to more sunlight had shorter hospital stays. Replacing curtains with frosted interior glass privacy walls provides privacy while still letting natural light in for patients who aren’t near a window.
For too long, hospitals have suffered from poor design. Thankfully, this is changing as hospital administrators come to understand how better hospital layout and design can improve patient outcomes—and boost the facility’s bottom line.
Space Plus: Helping to Redesign the Patient Experience
Space Plus, a Division of The Sliding Door Company, is excited to be a part of the movement for better hospital design. Our interior sliding glass doors and glass privacy walls have been used to improve patient experience and privacy by a number of high-profile healthcare facilities, including Dignity Health, Mercy Medical, and Quest Diagnostics.
Our semi-transparent glass dividers allow light to flow from one room to the next, giving occupants on-demand privacy while simultaneously improving the aesthetics of the room and enhancing patient well-being. Our interior sliding doors feature large openings and smooth-gliding tracks—perfect for healthcare settings that require easy emergency access and compliance with ADA standards.