Researchers from De Montfort University department of design research are calling on the NHS to house up to 80 per cent of hospital patients in single rooms, in a bid to halt the incidence of hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA.
The call comes on the back of a project the university has just completed for the NHS to create wards that minimise the spread of infection. Results are due to be published this month and according to former De Monfort University professor of design research Ian McLaren, designs need to adjust to meet the needs of modern hospitals.
‘Single rooms for each patient [are the solution]. They are already the norm in countries like the US and we believe a target of 80 per cent is achievable in the UK.’
McLaren says the ‘horrendous’ costs of hospital-acquired infections mean any design investment that reduced infection would pay for itself ‘within a few years’.
He charges some designers working in the sector of ‘superficiality’. ‘There is more concern with making a hospital look like a hotel, rather than making it a safe place for patients,’ he maintains.
The research, which surveyed NHS managers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, identified other areas for improvement/ eliminating areas where dust can collect, using high quality finishes, providing better storage solutions and ensuring nurses can easily observe patients.