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The importance of private hospital rooms

Privacy is important to most everyone. Not having privacy or having your privacy invaded can be a stressful and uneasy situation at any time.

Privacy is important to most everyone. Not having privacy or having your privacy invaded can be a stressful and uneasy situation at any time.

Because of this, most public healthcare settings such as a pharmacy or a doctors’ office request that you stand back from the counter or desk until it is your turn so that each customer or patient can have as much privacy as possible. The reason for seeing the doctor, payment information and medication details are often topics that people prefer to keep private.

When it comes to being in the hospital, privacy often become even more important and most people prefer a private room if possible. Most hospitals in the US have both private and semi-private or shared rooms, but there is a trend moving towards all private rooms for those hospitals that are able to make this change. There are many clinical reasons, such as reducing the incidence of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), but there are also important psychological and cultural reasons. There are also obvious connections between the clinical and emotional. For example, because private rooms reduce hospital-acquired infections, falls and other clinical challenges, patients in these rooms have shorter hospital stays, which in and of itself is surely an emotional and psychological benefit.

Emotional and psychological benefits

Another benefit is realized due to the fact that it is believed that healthcare professionals may have longer, more thorough discussions with their patients – and often the patients’ family – in a private room. This is clearly beneficial in that everyone has a better understanding of the patient’s situation and how it will be addressed, leading to greater emotional comfort for both patients and their families. It also helps to ensure that both patients and families as well informed as possible on the roles they should (or shouldn’t) play in the healing process.

According to a study quoted on the website nursetv.com, single rooms do contribute significantly in improving patients’ emotional and psychological wellbeing during a hospital stay. Private rooms can help both patients and their families through stressful times by providing the privacy needed to be able to communicate clearly without worrying about disturbing another patient or patient family. The study also referenced the opportunity to allow a more culturally sensitive environment with a private room, such as being able to bring more items from home to make the patient comfortable. There is less possibility of embarrassment of any kind for the patient too. These benefits of privacy help
provide valuable emotional support for the patient.

Roommates and remote controls
When it comes to stress, it’s no surprise that hospital roommates can be stressful. Specifically, a study at premierinc.com shows that roommates who are unfriendly, have too many visitors, or are seriously ill can have negative effects on other patients. Patients in single-occupancy rooms large enough to accommodate family members fare better since social contact with one’s support system reduces stress and improves patient health.

A patient in a private room also has much more control over his or her environment in ways that are not possible in a shared room. Noise tolerance, for example, can be much lower during illness, and control of noise can be an important factor in patient recovery. Excess noise can lead to increased anxiety, inaccuracies in perceiving pain, loss of sleep, and eventually, prolonged convalescence. Something as seemingly simple as being able to control the volume on the television (or if it’s on or off) or if the shades are drawn or open can help the patient to feel more capable and so improve his or her self-image as related to strength and ability to heal more quickly.

Having all private patient rooms can also improve the satisfaction of nurses and other healthcare providers, which obviously also enhances the environment for healing.

FHN Memorial Hospital is the first hospital in the area with all private hospital rooms, offering all the benefits outlined above. While no one wants to be in the hospital, it’s good to know that the environment at FHN is being maximized for patient health, comfort and recovery!

Source: https://www.journalstandard.com/article/20120123/NEWS/301239944

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