Doug Wignall, international healthcare director at the Omaha, Neb.-based architectural firm HDR Architecture, says one feature thats becoming more common in an effort to prevent patient falls is the installation of grab bars along the entire path from the bed to the bathroom.
Remarkably, its something that hasnt been done before, Wignall says. Sometimes the obvious is the hardest to see. HDR ranked first on the surveys list of architectural firms, with $5.9 billion in business in 2008 vs. $3.3 billion in 2007.
Wignall says that patient safety is still key when it comes to designing hospitals. Weve taken the concept of same-handed patient rooms into the same-handed hospital.
Noting that its still an untested concept, Wignall declined to name the same-handed facility, but says it has been open for about a year and its patient-safety record has been tracked, so he thinks there will be some data in the not-too-distant future.
Dallas-based HKS, ranked second on the list of architectural firms, reported $4.4 billion in business in 2008 compared with about $3.3 billion in 2007. The HKS Clinical Solutions and Research group set up a simulated patient room nine different ways and had 10 left-handed and 10 right-handed nurses perform basic tasks such as checking vital signs or helping patients sit up in their beds. While kinesiology and nursing experts are still examining videos of the nearly 550 simulated patient encounters, Debajyoti Pati, the firms research director, says one thing is clear: There is sufficient evidence to support standardization.