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HERD. 2015 Summer;8(4):98-114. doi: 10.1177/1937586715586391.

Hospital Patient Room Design: The Issues Facing 23 Occupational Groups Who Work in Medical/Surgical Patient Rooms.

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Integrated Systems Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA Orthopaedics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
Integrated Systems Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
Design, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.



The aim of this study was to learn from a wide range of hospital staff members about how the design of the patient room in which they work adversely affects their ergonomics or hinders their job performance.


In addition to providing a healing space for patients, hospital patient rooms need to serve as functional workplaces for the people who provide clinical care, to clean, or to maintain room functions. Therefore, from a design perspective, it is important to understand the needs of all the users of hospital patient rooms with regard to room design.


One hundred forty-seven people, representing 23 different occupational stakeholder groups, participated in either focus groups or interviews in which they were asked to identify room design issues that affect the performance of their work tasks.


Key issues shared across multiple stakeholder groups included an inability to have eye contact with the patient when entering the room, inadequate space around the bed for the equipment used by stakeholders, the physical demands experienced as stakeholders move furnishings to accomplish their activities or access equipment, and a lack of available horizontal surfaces. Unique issues were also identified for a number of stakeholder groups.


There are a number of issues that should be addressed in the next generation of hospital patient rooms, or when refurbishing existing facilities, so that all occupational stakeholder groups can work effectively, efficiently, and without undue physical stress.


design; ergonomics; hospital-acquired infection; human factors; injury prevention; med/surg patient room; patient room; patient safety

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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