It’s no secret that worldwide pressures on healthcare systems is at an all time high.
Huge rises in patient numbers globally is placing unsustainable demands on hospitals and healthcare facilities, with bed space demand outstripping supply.
NHS Digital states that there were over 23.8 million attendances to NHS A&E departments in England throughout 2017-2018, a 22% rise since 2008-9.
However it’s now not just in the emergency rooms that bed availability is scarce, this is now transcending to inpatient wards with increasing amount of hallways doubling up as bed bays. Dubbed “hallway medicine” by healthcare professionals, it is not an uncommon procedure now in many hospitals worldwide.
Admitting patients to hallway beds helps improve throughput in Emergency departments, and to provide care when there literally is no where else for patients to go in hospitals.
In the US, a big concern is the possible violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), which requires healthcare providers to protect patients personal health information, when patients are placed in hallways. Not to mention confidentiality breaches in the UK, and throughout Europe too.
However the most obvious issue is the lack of patient privacy and the loss of dignity that can occur.
Providing life-saving care is obviously of the utmost importance, however ensure patient wellbeing including basic human rights to feeling dignified is a closely qualifying second.
There have been many links between quality of environment and patient rehabilitation time, including physical and mental wellbeing. Providing a private space for patients is integral to that.
With the already steep pressures on healthcare systems, expensive remodelling is often not possible with tight budgets, so providing flexible, multi-use solutions is an excellent alternative.
Patient privacy screens that act as a room divider between beds, can even shield and separate patients placed in hallways and other temporary space solutions.
The use of printed graphics and appropriate imagery can also promote the reduction of stress, and associative stress with clinical environments that many patients experience.
Being placed in a hallway bed is not a situation that any patient should experience, however sometimes acts as the only alternative, and flexible space management solutions such as KwickScreen can make this unpleasant experience as dignified as possible.