Saturday, January 16, 2016

Proposed Improvements for the Hospital Environment (Life saving/ Boost to Economy/Improved life and deaths ect.)

"A visit to a U.S. hospital is dangerous and stressful for patients, families and staff members. Medical errors and hospital-acquired infections are among the leading causes of death in the United States, each killing more Americans than AIDS, breast cancer, or automobile accidents (Institute of Medicine, 2000; 2001). According to the Institute of Medicine in its landmark Quality Chasm report: “The frustration levels of both patients and clinicians have probably never been higher. Yet the problems remain. Health care today harms too frequently and routinely fails to deliver its potential benefits” (IOM, 2001). Problems with U.S. health care not only influence patients; they impact staff. Registered nurses have a turnover rate averaging 20 percent (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, 2002)." (Quote from HERE_ CLICK)
"The research team found rigorous studies that link the physical environment to patient and staff outcomes in four areas:
  1. Reduce staff stress and fatigue and increase effectiveness in delivering care
  2. Improve patient safety
  3. Reduce stress and improve outcomes
  4. Improve overall healthcare quality" (Quote from HERE_ CLICK)

As a person with a chronic disease I have spent too many nights in emergency rooms. While I am thankful for the healthcare I have access to and am eternally grateful for the medical workers in my past, my time spent has brought up a few potentially life changing ideas for Hospitals to implement. Because I believe in some of these ideas wholeheartedly I am lifting the copyright for this post only. This article may be plagiarized, added to, circulated, hash tagged...whatever forum works for you to share- share it. Probably others have had these ideas but I am putting them out there for writers to improve upon, researchers to add data to, and business managers to circulate to hopefully government attention.

In varied parts of Europe some hospitals incorporate bits of beauty and sensory appeal into their hospital spaces. Not only do they have shorter hospital stays because of this but they also have an overall improved quality of life. I am not talking about patient satisfaction or bedside manner. There are many doctors who could improve in this area but are still good doctors who prevent death. This actually isn't about the doctors at all or about being an environment like the Ritz. It's about a few small changes that can improve the air quality in hospitals cutting down on germs and big strain bacterias, a few inspirational improvements for mental health to put less pressure on nurses, and making use of our businesses to not only boost health but economy.

This article (CLICK HERE)  talks about how one third of our hospitals may close by 2020. Some of our most intimate and vulnerable moments happen at hospitals and we are not paying enough attention to how we can change the rates of death and optimize comfort without catering like a four star hotel.


The most important factor to start out with is plants. CLICK HERE for information on how hospital gardens not only help patients heal but also employees. "One finding, in particular, surprised Cooper Marcus and Barnes. Stressed hospital employees accounted for as many visits to hospital gardens as stressed patients, and interviews confirmed that staffers depend on the greenery." Every hospital should have a small indoor greenery room. In addition to this, each room with a window should have one toxic air cleaning plant up in a high corner where no one, other than the watering staff, can reach it. Many tropical plants are hardy, cheap and effective in removing germs from the air. They are only toxic when ingested or sometimes touched. If it is in a far corner of the top part of a room it will not only help with germ control but improve a patients well being simply by looking at it. The only exception would be in rooms that have patients who self harm as they may be tempted to ingest but otherwise this idea will help cut back on dangerous bacterial strains circulating in the air, patient discomfort, and improve employee health. Local gardening business can offer plants half price to hospitals but still be making money due to demand. The cleaning staff can add watering once a week to their list which will also improve their attitude as it is proven that simply taking care of a plant can boost quality of living. It's a win win.


"Correct humidity is essential to patient health, staff comfort and prevention of electrostatic damage to medical equipment." "A comfortable, healthy atmosphere is necessary for rest and recovery. If a health care environment is too dry it will not only hinder a patient’s recovery but will also encourage infection and further illness. Deviations from the mid-range of relative humidity (RH) of 40-60% can reduce air quality by causing an increased growth of bacteria, airborne infection, sore eyes, sore throat, increased static and dust, and premature coagulation.  

Dry air will attempt to pull moisture from all possible sources in a room including mucous membranes. Mucous membranes are our bodies natural defense against airborne infections. If our membranes dry out we are more prone to colds, flus, and viruses." Quotes taken from THIS ARTICLE_CLICK) and Here is another article citing similar finds ( I realize these are companies stating their facts, but even on a personal level, those of us who use humidifiers find that we are sick less, have a shorter duration of illness, and as a bonus we provide our plants with nourishment. The emergency department in each hospital should have humidifiers for the proper square footage of the space. There are companies who specialize in this and there are many options out there. This not only saves the staff but saves our hospital dollars in general because less super bugs are costing less money to fix, less germs are being spread around reducing the costs, and less nurses are taking time off or are sick themselves spreading their germs in the air. This strategy should also be used in any room that contains bacterial and viral patients for the sake of both patients and health care workers. It may cost more initially but long term the costs WILL go down. 


In my home town the small emergency department has one bathroom for seven beds and one staff bathroom. No matter how small the department, if a space has more than four beds it should have at least two bathrooms. Many patients are throwing up or having diarrhoea and one bathroom is not enough. Staff need to have their own to cut down on what they spread and contract and patients should have the option of two. I know there are bed pans ect for emergencies but to add an additional bathroom when building any new hospitals is a must. This will also cut down on what is spread. In each bathroom there should be a regular supply of clorox wipes or at the very least a note on the door asking patients and staff to not only wash their hands but use soapy warm water to wash and dry the toilet handles and the water handles and door handles each time *unless they are too sick to accomplish this of course but many could. Clorox may be pricey but perhaps they could provide a discount and still get more business to work for the company? I am not a business person and I ask whomever circulates this article and knows business to crunch numbers for me. Regardless this idea would cut down on circulation of disease along with less crummy work on the cleaning staff.


Anxiety affects the nervous system and the bodies ability to heal. Colours have been proven to make a difference in patient health and the rates on which the patients will recover and stay out of hospital. Please read this paper for more: "Choose colors that coordinate with existing furnishings.

Choose colors that are not believed to be harmful to the patients. Test a variety of color palettes.
Test various hues, intensities, and values.

Remove as many of the environmental factors that may effect a patient’s recovery as possible." To help choose a colour check out a site like this: 

In addition to colour other than white on the walls, there should be on healing nature scene in each room. This does not have to big ( 11 by 14 is good) and it should be wipeable on canvas or something similar but should contain either trees or water as a healing, neutral place to rest the eyes. Many patients focus on images like this when they are dealing with pain. It not only makes an easier time for medical staff but increases the self worth and belief crucial to convalescing for patients. This can be outsourced as a challenge to local artists by donation ect. The role of the physical environment on death rates, stress and overall well being is huge and can be addressed with a few pictures.


I love when the nurses warm up blankets for me as I physically do better and mentally prepare myself for whatever is ahead in my journey with this small comfort. Unfortunately with holes in blankets this warmth is very short lived. I had a wonderful nurse once who kept warming up my blankets because each time she didn't I went into
 into a form of shakes and shock  due to a condition I had. She could have been saved her valuable time and my peaks of stress could have gone down with a blanket without holes. Even a costco throw blanket is better than many blankets the hospital has. Body temperature is a crucial part to recovery and peace. I know it has to be easy to wash and less texturized for germs but there are many fabrics that may be able to achieve this balance.

HONEY INSTEAD OF SUGAR for all foods in the hospital, teas and coffees. TEA bars instead of Cola Machines

Sugar is one of the biggest culprits to prolonging illness. It has a directly negative affect on bodies and causes organs to work that much harder. It is also a huge part of hospital food. While I disagree that hospital food should be amazing, it should be nutritious. There should be no other option for non diabetic people besides honey for sweetener in teas and coffees. Unless there is an allergy, honey is not only soothing but beneficial to health and aids in recovery time and lessens bacteria. If this is outsourced from local farms at cheaper prices everyone wins.

Also herbal teas and decaffeinated options should be in place of every cola box in a hospital. If people are that desperate for cola they will find a way to get it anyway.

There are many other ways we can improve hospital care. This is a starting point that will lead to other improvements. I could suggest many other practices and mentalities but I feel this is an important start. Small changes that could potentially create huge change.

In North America hospitals are where the majority of life begins and sometimes ends. It is the starting brick to life. Health is the cornerstone to a strong country. For too long we have neglected the environments of the places we go to heal, begin our journeys into life and too often die in.  While too many changes would not be feasible there are small adjustments we can make to our hospitals to promote faster healing times, memorable birthing experiences, and healthier care workers. Some of these ideas can give business opportunities to bigger companies like Honeywell, Tetley or Clorox and smaller local companies, greenhouses, and honey farms. At first there will be a start up cost but in the end these ideas will save thousands of dollars in longer term health care costs.

Please pass this article on, tweet it, Instagram it, show it to local business owners or people who have access to spreading big ideas. Take whatever words you wish that are mine in this post as I am lifting my copyright for this POST ONLY. For the rest of the blog there is still copyright and no duplication is allowed unless given permission for my words and images.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.


FlutistPride said...

Hospitals are horrible places for sick people.

Kmarie A. said...

I mostly agree but am trying to be diplomatic about it:) ha ha...There are so many things that need to change...but if I had a bone to set or a surgery that needed to be done it is the place to go...and I do feel lucky in some senses...but A LOT has to change and so many things could be prevented with some small changes that could lead to big changes and eventually cultural mindsets...I am so happy that the trend in birthing has gone to midwifery and home births again...or at least doulaship in hospitals to make it a better experience! that is definitely a good cultural move for the most part and one that def benefited me:) Changes...we need them...:)

Ashe Skyler said...

My husband comes from a family of nurses and it is utterly ridiculous at the shifts medical staff are required to work. 24 hours straight and on their feet the whole time? Really? What genius thought THAT up? Can you really trust the people who think that's a swell idea to look after your own health properly?

I certainly have no love of those deathtrap prisons, but your suggestions would make things a bit easier while you're an inmate awaiting probation. Clorox would make me sicker than whatever I came in with thanks to my own lovely sensory issues, but I believe the point is about proper disinfecting without encouraging super-germs in the process, and I wholeheartedly agree with that. Hospitals could scare a disease lab petri dish!

My mini campaign is to have doctors accept "alternative"/traditional medicine as sound practice and the wisdom to know if a patient needs modern or traditional medicine (or both) to heal the quickest and most effectively. Naturopaths, midwives, chiropractors, massage therapists, all them "alternative" folk. A ruptured appendix definitely needs a wee bit of surgery to fix, but the sniffles or muscle knots would be fine with a few herbs or a good rub-down. I feel very blessed to have a professional looking after me that doesn't run for the silver crosses, torches, and pitch forks when I mention "alternative" medicine, and sometimes she even recommends some to me! :)

(Probably gonna repost this to my own blog, but I promise I'll do proper linkage.)

Kmarie A. said...

Ashe: Yes def re blog and change whatever...I hear you on the clorox and probably plain soapy water would be better...I don't actually use any chemicals in my cleaning and think the hospital should use less...I was thinking of the clorox simply for the handy wipe factor...but maybe even vinegar wipes would do better!

I agree! nurses should have shorter shifts than most people...its ridiculous and most are stressed, cranky and a hugely un healthy group as a whole and I feel for them as most of it isn't their fault. And some truly do care about their patients so it must be hard.


I also have that many campaign! I am also lucky my doc is now supportive of most of my alternative therapies and I have been healthier and more successful since I have adapted them. I only want to be in hospitals for instances like you mentioned or having a bone set ect. I used to frequent them a lot but I have learned through alternative therapies how to manage most of my pain and also just be healthier in general in diet ect...We have so many different people like you mentioned to be part of our team and all of them together with a doctor make an optimal solution to long term health!:)