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Impacting Patient Outcomes Through Design: Acuity Adaptable Care/Universal Room Design

Brown, Katherine Kay MSN, RN, CCRN; Gallant, Dennis BSID


To succeed in today's challenging healthcare environment, hospitals must examine their impact on customers—patients and families—staff and physicians. By using competitive facility design and incorporating evidence-based concepts such as the acuity adaptable care delivery model and the universal room, the hospital will realize an impact on patient satisfaction that will enhance market share, on physician satisfaction that will foster loyalty, and on staff satisfaction that will decrease turnover. At the same time, clinical outcomes such as a reduction in mortality and complications and efficiencies such as a reduction in length of stay and minimization of hospital costs through the elimination of transfers can be gained. The results achieved are dependent on the principles used in designing the patient room that should focus on maximizing patient safety and improving healing. This article will review key design elements that support the success of an acuity adaptable unit such as the use of a private room with zones dedicated to patients, families, and staff, healing environment, technology, and decentralized nursing stations that support the success of the acuity adaptable unit. Outcomes of institutions currently utilizing the acuity adaptable concept will be reviewed.

Corazon Inc, The Heart Experts, Pittsburgh, Pa (Ms Brown); and Hill-Rom Company, Batesville, Ind (Mr Gallant).

Corresponding author: Katherine Kay Brown, MSN, RN, CCRN, Corazon Inc, 5000 McKnight Rd, Suite 300, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.