Hospital room setup may affect surgical patients' outcomes: study

Hospital room features such as a window view and distance from a nursing station may affect patient outcomes after high-risk operations, according to research presented Oct. 16 at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2022. 

The study was led by researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. It's based on 3,964 patients who underwent 13 high-risk procedures — including colectomy, pancreatectomy and kidney transplant — at the University of Michigan Hospital between 2016 and 2019.

Room features that influenced outcomes included distance from a nursing station, single room occupancy and having a direct line of sight to clinicians, the findings showed. After adjusting for comorbidities and complexity of the procedure, researchers found inpatient mortality rates were 20 percent higher for patients admitted to a room without a window compared to those in a room with a window. Overall, 30-day mortality was lower for patients in rooms with a window or direct line of sight to the main nursing station. Researchers also found that sicker patients were more likely to be placed in rooms with features associated with lower mortality rates. 

"This investigation provided evidence that patients had differential outcomes across room design features, when accounting for clinical risk, and warrants further investigation for how hospital design may be influencing outcomes," said Mitchell Mead, study author and a health and design scholar at the University of Michigan. 

Future studies on hospital room features and clinical outcomes should include multiple hospitals to see if the results are generalizable, the researchers said. 

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