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The Importance of Environment in Healthcare Facilities

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People need hospitals and post-discharge clinics to recover and get back to their full health. Although they may receive support from the best providers in their region, the recovery environment can influence how well they heal and how long they need treatment. 

The importance of environment in health care facilities requires more attention from medical professionals. Patients and caretakers will experience these benefits if it becomes a facility’s primary focus.

Privacy reduces patient anxiety

Many recovery areas in hospitals and discharge clinics place patients in a large room together. Each bed has privacy behind a thin curtain, but that does nothing to stop people from hearing others who are in pain or need regular assistance. Feeling clustered with strangers and being exposed to their healing process increases patients’ anxiety, making their recovery more challenging.

Health care facilities that provided private recovery rooms reported their patients had less anxiety due to the mental health benefits. They could sleep better in a quiet space and talk comfortably with visiting family members. People also didn’t have to deal with the insomnia that can accompany ongoing anxiety, which made healing easier on their bodies.

Facility management teams that want to learn how to create a positive health care setting should start by providing as much patient privacy as possible. It will positively change people’s experience and make any facility the preferred provider for future patients.

Flooring promotes healing

Installing the wrong type of flooring during a facility’s construction can hinder a patient’s recovery process. Carpet fibers may harbor bacteria that are difficult to remove, while hardwood flooring presents a fall hazard for people with mobility issues. Family members considering what to look for in a health care setting will think about how the building’s flooring will support their loved one’s safety and well-being.

Health care professionals should consider alternative flooring that’s safe and easy to clean, like rubber. The texture prevents falls by providing additional traction and requires minimal upkeep. Facility management teams can also choose from patterns that look identical to non-rubber floor materials to enhance their interior design.

Hand-washing technology reduces infections

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in every 31 hospital patients experiences a health care-associated infection (HAI). These are most commonly spread through bacteria on the practitioner’s hands. Proper hygiene is a requirement at any medical facility, but that doesn’t guarantee that everyone’s hands are free of germs and bacteria.

Reducing infections is part of the importance of environment in health care facilities. Providers will guarantee better patient outcomes by installing technology such as electronic hand hygiene monitoring systems that catch lingering bacteria through UV lighting and scanning.

Employee Support Prevents Exhaustion

People know what to look for in a healthcare setting –employees who have the energy to maintain care routines with a positive attitude. Exhaustion prevents both things from happening, and it’s a significant challenge for medical facilities. 

Anyone who wants to know how to create a positive health care setting should consider preventive measures for employee exhaustion. A recent study found that 74% of medical workers have depression, and 75% have anxiety. Longer hours and understaffed teams pile onto those conditions and affect patients. Burned-out team members may provide inadequate care or log mistakes on patient records that keep them from the correct prescriptions or long-term care.

Health care facilities need environments that prioritize each worker’s well-being. Fully staffed teams are essential in addition to paid time off, routine breaks and insurance that covers mental health care. When each medical professional feels energized, grounded and happy to show up to work, they’ll provide better care for their patients.

Create a positive healthcare setting

Doctors, nurses and other medical care providers often forget the importance of environment in health care facilities. Small details like flooring, a private room and breaks for workers improve patient outcomes. These strategies are an excellent place to start for any facility seeking new ways to keep patients healthy, help them recover faster and support team members.

Ginger Abbot has written for The National Alliance for Mental Illness, HerCampus, Motherly, and more. When she’s not freelancing, she works as chief editor for the learning publication Classrooms, where you can read more of her work.

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