A Grounded Theoretical Analysis of Room Elements Desired by Family Members and Visitors of Hospitalized Patients: Implications for Medical/Surgical Hospital Patient Room Design

Emily S Patterson, Elizabeth B-N Sanders, Steven A Lavender, Carolyn M Sommerich, Sanghyun Park, Jing Li, Kevin D Evans
HERD 2018 August 14, : 1937586718792885

OBJECTIVE: To identify family members' and visitors' needs with relation to the design of a hospital room.

BACKGROUND: There is a trend toward incorporating family zones in hospital patient rooms in order to improve patient satisfaction and encourage family caregivers to stay longer and overnight.

METHOD: A mixed-method study was employed. Interviews of patients and family caregivers were conducted to understand opportunities to improve hospital room designs based on recent experiences. Features intended to support short-term and overnight visitors were embedded in five full-scale simulated room design concepts. Small groups of family caregivers and patients toured two room design concepts and reacted real time to room features. A grounded theory approach was employed to identify emerging themes.

RESULTS: A theoretical design framework is developed for the needs of family members and visitors for a range of time periods. This framework is founded upon desires to help make the patient feel more comfortable. There are various levels of helping the patient feel more comfortable, including visiting, keeping company, providing support, providing assistance, and being a caregiver. Beyond this core need, family members and visitors must take care of their own needs in order to feel comfortable in the hospital room. Activities associated with these needs include sitting, relaxing, eating, working, tending to daily needs, and resting overnight.

CONCLUSIONS: Potential implications for architects, healthcare planners, and interior space designers are described. Design and renovation guidance for the hospital room environment in order to support the needs and expectations of families and visitors is provided.

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