Many of us will experience a hospital stay at some point in our lives. Whether it’s for our own health or the health of someone close to us, it can be an intimidating and unfamiliar environment. The staff works tirelessly to help patients recover and return home quickly, but their efforts are only successful when they can provide care in a safe and comfortable space. Hospital room design has a significant impact on staff workflows and patient outcomes, which is why working with an architectural firm that understands the unique challenges of healthcare facilities can lead to responsive designs that exceed the highest patient expectations.
When you first enter your hospital room, it will probably be quite sterile. Depending on your condition, the room may be set up as a semi-private or private room, with a curtain separating your bed from another patient’s in the same room. Some hospitals charge extra for this type of room, which is not always covered by insurance.
A white communication board located near your bed will list the names of staff members who will be caring for you each day. It will also have a schedule of the day’s activities and goals. If you are unsure of what is happening, ask your nurse.
Hospital staff will make rounds throughout the day and evening to see how you are doing and to give medications or treatments as needed. They are assisted by a variety of other health care workers, including licensed nurses (LPNs and LVNs), nursing assistants, and orderlies. All of these people, as well as visitors to your room, must wear masks and gowns to avoid spreading germs.
You will be able to choose a time of day that you would like to have meals delivered to your room. Some hospitals have set times, while others will serve meals whenever you are ready to eat. If you have a diet of special foods, you will need to check with your nurse before ordering food from outside the hospital. Many hospitals also have hospitality snack carts that visit rooms during the day to sell items like snacks, magazines, and toiletries.
If you go to the emergency room, your status will be triaged, or assigned a priority, based on how urgent your condition is. Chest pain, a bad headache, bleeding from a wound that won’t stop, shortness of breath, and any other acute illness or injury are considered emergencies and will be seen promptly.
Other problems, such as a sore throat or a stuffed nose, will be waited on in a less urgent way. It could take hours before you are seen and treated for your cold or sprained ankle. Once your condition is evaluated, the hospital will likely admit you or send you home with a prescription and a plan for follow-up appointments. Those who have had to spend long periods of time in the hospital will know how important it is to follow-up as recommended by your doctor.