Are decisions about hospital design made upside down?

Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (10):703-703 (2008)
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Although removed from immediate clinical practice, decisions about the design of hospitals eventually impact on patient care and treatment. Any decision which affects a patient’s treatment is an ethical decision and should be guided by the principles of medical ethics. If we apply these principles to healthcare facilities, it would seem that providers have a duty to design hospitals which best reduce the possibility that a patient may come to unnecessary harm during their treatment and improve a patient’s experience, privacy and dignity. Evidence suggests that hospitals designed with 100% single-occupancy rooms are best equipped to achieve these aims.The prevalence of hospital acquired infections is still increasing. Currently, they are thought to affect around 9% of hospital patients in the UK and contribute to around 90 000 deaths per year in Europe.1 A hospital design which is able to decrease the prevalence of hospital acquired infection would help to reduce the amount of harm a patient may experience in hospital. Studies have shown that adapting the hospital design to incorporate 100% single-occupancy …



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