Good hospital room design can help patients avoid falls

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Good hospital room design

In a project recently conducted by Texas Tech University, researchers show that a good hospital room design may keep patients safer and make them recover more quickly.

The study is funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality ($98,619), one of the funding agencies under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

It is part of the project that focuses on prioritizing physical design interventions in hospitals and long-term care facilities to reduce patient falls.

A previous research project has identified physical design elements that contribute to patient falls.

Researchers first created likely fall scenarios using industry data and experiences from health care providers, and then created a space representing a typical hospital room and bathroom.

Participants hooked up to motion capture technology interacted with the rooms the same way patients would. They were stopped from falling, but the motion capture technology recorded those movements as they started to fall.

The result showed that participants fell frequently as elderly people in 4 types of postures while interacting with their physical environments: pushing, pulling, turning and grabbing.

Design elements associated with these postures include bathroom configuration, bathroom door, toilet seat and grab bars, the toilet flush handle, obstructions along the path to the bathroom and IV pole design, among others.

In the current project, researchers will develop strategies to address those risks and make care safer.

Researchers suggest that this may be the only interior and environmental design graduate program in the country that has received a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services.

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News Source: Texas Tech University.
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