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Balancing Nurse-Patient Interaction & Focus: The Role of Space

Balancing Nurse-Patient Interaction & Focus: The Role of Space

Posted In // Healthcare

The extraordinarily personal and critical nature of healthcare often results in high-stress situations. Recent research reveals that environmental layout strongly influences numerous elements of a healthcare practice. The joint study named Destination Bedside, conducted in 2012 by Knoll and HOK suggests strong correlations between the design of a facility and the likelihood for medical errors.

The study sought to determine the consistency of patient-centered care (PCC) in a surgical inpatient environment at a US-based university hospital. The hospital comprised seven units, with a total of just under 250 beds. The authors of the study used a combination of questionnaires and time/space assessment of nurse activities, facilitated with random contact 30 times per shift via handheld digital devices.

Distractions & common nursing errors

According to a 2012 study from the Annual Review of Medicine, approximately 98,000 deaths occur annually in the United States due to medical errors.

Medication errors represent a sizable portion of these mistakes: the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was notified of 95,000 such incidents between 2000 and November 2013. Patient falls are also extraordinarily common, accounting for 6% of preventable deaths and injuries in hospitals (as of 2011).

The literature review portion of the study determined that nurses are distracted every nine minutes, on average. When distractions occur, the chance of medication error is increased by 7%. These mistakes cost healthcare facilities $21 billion each year. Patient falls are expensive for medical practices as well, with a projected cost this decade exceeding $32 billion.

Study findings & "porch" design concept

The study outlines two major findings of the research, one each related to patient falls and medication errors:

  • Near falls are more likely to occur while transferring the patient between bed and bathroom, but less likely when nurses complete documentation at bedside.
  • Distraction during medication preparation increases when it occurs at computers on wheels and when frequency of trips to a centralized storage area rises.

The authors discussed these findings with 120 nurses to determine the best possible layouts for patient rooms. The researchers determined that the best model for both nurses and patients would allow a space connected to each patient room that could be contained as needed. A small room that the study calls a porch would reduce hallway distractions and allow better immediate access to patients.

Beaux Arts is committed to developing spaces and utilizing furniture that provide the highest degrees of patient care and nursing efficiency. The above study demonstrates that many errors can be avoided with the right environmental approach: we can work with your design team and architects to help implement the "porch" concept or devise a customized solution for your existing patient-centered care facilities. http://www.beauxartsgroup.com/healthcare.html

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