The benefits of private patient rooms are widely understood, from improving patient satisfaction to reducing healthcare-associated infections. But that doesn’t mean that there’s been wholesale adoption among healthcare facilities.

For one, the perceived cost of converting double patient rooms to private has prevented some organizations from making the shift. In addition, uncertainly in the marketplace over the Affordable Care Act and reimbursement rates has driven many facilities to table constructon projects, including new patient towers, until a later date and instead pursue smaller, ambulatory facilities to deliver care.

But not everyone sees a lost opportunity. “The push toward ambulatory care is decreasing inpatient days in hospitals while increasing the acuity level,” says Adrian Hagerty, regional vice president of Array Architects (Washington, D.C.). “This simply increases the pressure to go to all private rooms.”

Hagerty and colleague Patricia Malick, practice area leader, interior design, at Array Architects, will discuss this push in the session “Your Aging Patient Bed Tower—Top Ten Considerations When Renovating“ at the Healthcare Design Healthcare Design Conference (Nov. 15-18 at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego).

Hagerty says there’s an opportunity for hospitals to increase the quality of the patient experience by decreasing their total number of beds and moving from semi-private to private rooms. But that doesn’t mean a bed can be removed from a double room and the transition’s complete; rather, when a facility converts, there are many challenges involved that relate to operations, facility planning, and even changes to the nursing ratio.

To help navigate this renovation process, Hagerty and Malick compiled a list of top considerations, including:

  • Logistics—More often than not, facilities will need to make physical changes to facilitate efficient operations of a new patient unit.
  • Life safety—Knowing how to plan and execute interim life safety measures will help reduce disruptions in patient care and hospital operations during the renovation process.
  • Patient/family-involved care—A patient tower renovation provides an opportunity for older facilities to reinvent the patient experience, by introducing new amenties and layouts that allow family members to participate in the caregiving process.

The two will share their full list during their session and use recent case studies to illustrate the challenges and solutions involved in these types of renovation projects.

Adrian Hagerty

Patricia Malick

For more information of the Healthcare Design Conference, Nov. 15-18 at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, visit