Physician perspective: Lessons learned from Cleveland Clinic walls

Hospital patient room interiors don't differ much room to room — they contain the same bed, whiteboard and monitoring equipment, for instance. But two things can set rooms apart: The patient and the decorations their visitors bring in.

In a New York Times Well Blog piece, Mikkael Sekeres, MD, director of Cleveland Clinic's leukemia program, shared how just looking at the walls of his patients' rooms helped him feel more connected to them and can also help improve outcomes.

He's seen artwork drawn by children, rooms festooned with super hero motifs, or crosses and Bible passages.

"I admire the creativity, the support, the love that I see on the walls of these rooms," he wrote. "I get to appreciate my patients from the time before they were sick and I can also see what they are trying to return to."

Dr. Sekeres also notes when patients have no special touches in their rooms. "These are the people who may not have a ride to the outpatient appointments and treatments that are so necessary for their survival," he wrote. "We spend extra time with them on discharge planning, involving our social work team, to help ensure they are as safe as possible when they leave."

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