The quality of a mattress isn’t exactly the most important thing going on in a hospital. Neither is interior design or ambiance of patient rooms; they’re focused on treatment and triage, not color palettes and cotton bedding. However, these little details about a hospital room may have a direct effect on the timeline and efficacy of patient healing.
The Effects of Your Environment on Illness & Healing
Environment really does affect the clinical details as well as the human ones. At two different McGill University hospitals, the ICUs were retrofitted into private rooms instead of shared rooms. Simply giving patients a private space decreased the incidence of bacterial infection by half, and shortened hospital stays by 10%.
At UH Cleveland Medical Center, hospital administration took patient and family feedback to redesign their rooms, especially the inpatient rooms for long stays. Private rooms; purposeful, calm and natural design; soundproofed walls and floors; activity lounges for inpatient visitors; and consciously informing patients of their treatment regimens are some of the big changes they made.
As a result of changes like these at Cleveland Medical Center and other UH facilities, where bacterial infections broke out almost weekly beforehand, they might go 3 months between infections after the redesign. They had way more positive family feedback, and patient stress levels were decreased across the board. The improved, patient-focused care made patients more likely to keep up on their at-home treatment regimens and to follow up with their doctors about their ongoing health.
Other studies on how hospital environment affects patient experience included a view of the outdoors, a plant or two in the room, bedside tables, and a doctor-nurse com system that was digitally and privately-based instead of over the loudspeakers. All were successfully implemented and had similar effects – less infections, shorter stays and better long-term healing.
Why a Hospital Bed Mattress Might Matter
A huge part of healing is sleep. Whether you’re dealing with a broken leg or another round of chemo, poor sleep will put undue stress on your immune system. If your immune system is busy trying to counteract the effects of rising cortisol levels, its resources aren’t available for mending that bone or fighting that tumour.
A comfortable mattress can go a long way with regards to sleep. Hospital mattresses have to deal with a lot, whether it’s heavier, bedridden or otherwise complicated patients. But natural materials are healthy and hypoallergenic – and they’re by no means delicate. Natural latex mattresses offer extra support and pressure relief for up to 2 decades, and memory foam offers a relaxing cradling that will survive thousands of patients across the years.
And then, of course, you’ve got the bedding to consider. Custom high-thread-count cotton sheets can make a big difference in patient comfort. Hospital sheets are often made of low-thread count cotton or polyester blends, but soft, all-natural cotton bedding will offer way more comfort while still standing up to frequent washing and sanitization.
There is obviously a significant expense involved in switching out mattresses across your hospital, but making these changes for patients also benefits the facility and its employees. Better patient success and shorter stays help doctors and nurses stop from burning out, and mean that the hospital has the capacity to help more people because less people are staying for less time.
Patient-Centered Care Betters Sleep for Better Health
Isn’t it interesting how your environment can affect your attitude, and your attitude can affect your health? That mind-body connection is not a joke. When we think of hospitals and rehab facilities as they are, we tend to think more clinical and goal-oriented than anything. But human comforts – the comfy memory foam mattress that reminds them of home, cozy blankets, calm wall colors, live plants, and big windows – these really do affect clinical processes and how people heal. As it turns out, effective healthcare involves a lot more than finding the right medicine.