Hospital rooms of the future

May 21, 2010 9:31:23 AM PDT
We might not spend a lot of time thinking about hospital rooms, but health experts sure are, and they're thinking about what they should look like in the future. A lot of hospitals built after the WWII now need revamping or rebuilding and that brings experts thinking about the patient room of the future.

It's a room designed to meet a very different kind of patient than those we are now.

As a population in this country, we are older, we are fatter, better educated and more plugged in.

With all this in mind, the patient rooms of the future are being designed.

"We actually created focus groups, made up of people in the community. People who've used us in the past, people with special needs and asked them to critique the ideas to see if we're meeting whatever their special needs are," said Susan Lorenz.

Lorenz showed off the new features of the model "patient room of the future" at the University Medical Center at Princeton.

Right at the entrance of every room there's the nurse station and sink with hands free functions.

"You can wash your hands, and dry off without having to touch any of the surfaces," adds Lorenz.

Infection control is a top concern. That's the reason there is only one patient per room. The bed is larger, lower, and can weigh patients right in the bed.

It also has alarms that can automatically summon staff if a patient leaves the bed but shouldn't.

By the bed there is a hand rail that automatically lights up and can take the patient safely into the bathroom, with more handrails.

The bathroom door is glass that can allow a soft light into the patient room.

And above it all, a monitor for movies tapes and other staff communication, like helping the nurses monitor your pain.

"On the tv it will say how do you rate your pain. It will call the nurse and they'll come in and help you with your pain," adds Lorenz.

You can also order your meals through that monitor. There are many other features. The floors are slip proof, medications can be loaded form the outside of the room and very specific to the patient.

One of the things patients of the future are keeping in mind.


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