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New Hospital Incorporates Livable Features Proven to Speed Recovery Cont.
“Hospital-based infections are something that healthcare systems all across the country deal with and something we are very focused on at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital,” said Repeta. “So the idea of hand-washing is the best way that we know to prevent hospital-based infections. So what we have done is to use a few visual cues to try to help that process.”
Repeta said the design of the hospital makes it safer for staff in other ways, as well. Ceiling mounted lifts for heavy lifting of patients help reduce back injuries. The hospital also includes spongy carpeting designed to be easy on the feet and to reduce noise.
Col. Kathleen Ford, deputy commander for nursing at FBCH, said that patients who come to the facility may not know the term “evidence-based design,” but they will notice a difference between the new facility and the DeWitt Army Community Hospital that it replaces.
“We had a 1954 constructed hospital with shared spaces, dark rooms and narrow hallways. This facility is a million degrees away from that. I think the patient will be pleased to see the wide-open spaces and the connections with nature that we have achieved here,” she said.
Levin said that the money put into the construction of hospitals with EBD pays off of financially and healthwise for the patients.
“Without a doubt, there is evidence and research out there that show that spending some dollars up front will actually save you dollars year after year after year,” she said. “The other side is that it creates an environment that produces better health outcomes, a reduction in falls, a reduction of infections and a reduction in the use of analgesic drugs.”
Earlier this year a series of articles published in the January/February Hastings Center Report highlighted the payoff of adding these elements to a hospital. One of the articles noted that incorporating a number of EBD features into the construction of a 300-bed facility, such as larger windows, ceiling-mounted patient lifts, healing gardens, larger patient bathrooms with double-door access and hand-hygiene stations, would cost about $26 million more in construction. However, the article showed that the design could save about $10 million a year with reduced hospital stays, health-care associated infections and nurse injuries among other factors.
A case study at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Oregon found that after building a new hospital facility using EBD principles, including single patient rooms, large windows and ceiling mounted patient lifts, length of stay for patients decreased from 4.18 to 3.82 days. The cost per adjusted discharge was reduced by $790 per admission (from $14,559 to $13,769), or 5.4% and patient satisfaction rose to 86%.