November 17, 2013

Editorial: Private rooms best for patients

People who are in the hospital for serious illness would never describe their accommodations as luxurious, but if anything comes close, it would be the new R4 rooms at CVPH Medical Center.

The Plattsburgh hospital is offering more private rooms for patients, and that’s good news for both the ill people and the staff.

Five years ago, 50 to 55 percent of CVPH rooms were private, meaning that, in the other half, patients were stuck with roommates. If you have been in the hospital, even overnight, you know the last thing you want when you are sick or recovering from surgery is some stranger on the other side of the room, talking, watching TV, maybe coughing or moaning.

Hospitals are not easy places to rest anyway, with their unfamiliar surroundings, machines making all kinds of noises and staff coming in and out to check on you.

But quiet and rest are just what people need as they recover. CVPH CEO Stephens Mundy tells us that private rooms are “safer for staff, have fewer distractions, and quality of care and patient satisfaction are higher.”

That is why CVPH is moving toward 97 percent private rooms. And, remarkably, Mundy tells us there is no difference in cost to patient.

The new unit is a showcase of the future of hospitalization. The 22 progressive-care rooms each measure from 150 to 250 square feet. Without equipment, they look like large hotel rooms, some with a nice view of the hospital pond. But the true beauty of their size is that the room can be packed with all the equipment and staff needed to nurse patients back to health.

Among the other amenities are in-room dialysis and the fact that the entire bathroom can basically become a big shower, making bathing of patients in shaky condition easier. Each room has supply shelves that can be stocked from the hallway, so staff members don’t need to disrupt patients. Some rooms have special staff entrances for isolated patients, and two rooms have traction to make it easier to move obese people.

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