Can a hospital room help a heart patient heal?

Research shows that room design has an impact on a heart patient’s recovery and can shorten their time in the hospital.

Clinical excellence is a fundamental component for any open-heart surgery program, but did you know that the physical environment is also an important consideration? Research shows that room design has an impact on a heart patient’s recovery and can shorten their time in the hospital.

To provide an environment that encourages patient safety and healing, some of the leading heart centers, including the one at Allegiance Health, have been designed around a cardiac universal bed (CUB) model of care. This means patients receive all of their treatments in the same private room until they leave the hospital. Staying in the CUB increases patients’ ability to rest and heal because it allows them to avoid multiple room transfers for various levels of care. It also limits their exposure to infection, which is a big concern in the days immediately after open-heart surgery. 

In a CUB model of care, nursing staff members are consistently assigned to the same patients. This gives patients and their family members the comfort and security of getting to know their care team. Nurses have an opportunity to become very familiar with the patient’s condition, so they can recognize changes and quickly respond to complications. The CUB model also makes it easier for staff to communicate with each other on the patient’s care and to keep patients and families continually updated. 

Patient safety was a major consideration in designing the CUB model. There is a nursing monitor station between every two patient rooms, with a window into both rooms. This allows nurses to keep an eye on the patients’ vital signs at all times and provide help quickly. One patient mentioned that she never had to use her call light while staying in the CUB Unit, because a nurse was always there when she needed something.

The CUB model of care is also designed to encourage family involvement in patient care. There are private spaces where family members can talk with each other, and the spacious patient rooms feature an armchair that converts to a comfortable bed if a support person wishes to spend the night.

Allegiance Health’s Cardiac Universal Bed Unit earned the ICU Design runner up award from the Society of Critical Care Medicine. The reaction of patients and their family members has been overwhelmingly positive since the Heart and Vascular Center opened in 2006. One patient commented that her room “felt like a five-star hotel, but with better service.” Another said he loved the large glass doors in his room because they allowed him to see his children coming down the hall to see him, and that always gave him a lift. Nearly everyone tells us the nurse monitoring stations gave them a sense of security and well-being.

View a slide show of the CUB Unit by clicking either of the images above, or see a tour by watching the video below.

If you are facing open-heart surgery and would like a personal tour, call (517) 817-7605.

The best chance of surviving a heart attack is to act quickly. Do not wait for symptoms to go away. Call 9-1-1 immediately, and chew an aspirin while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.