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Safe patient storage

Safe patient storage

20 Jul 2020

Being in a hospital or healing environment can be very stressful for patients. They are away from their friends and families, often for extended periods of time, and the stress of treatment can have a negative impact on wellbeing.

When it comes to designing and outfitting hospitals, architects and specifiers should strive to enhance the wellbeing of patients and make hospital stays less stressful. Often, however, the true priorities of patients can be overlooked in favor of implementing other, less important features.

What do patients want?

In a US study into design factors in healing environments, carried out at four hospitals, across nearly 400 patients of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, it was identified that a safe storage place for patient belongings is actually one of the most important concerns for patients.

Patients surveyed were in both private and semi-private rooms and multiple research tools and analysis methods were used including machine learning, paper and pencil surveys, and regression analysis. The study concluded: “A safe storage place is the strongest predictor of safety and security,” and “indicates that a safe storage place is especially relevant in terms of safety and security.”

The category Safety and Security included areas such as safe storage, emergency help, restricting unauthorized persons, and light controls. Surprisingly, this area of design consideration ranked above all other areas including:

  • Spatial Comfort, involving patient room size, interior design, and views of nature (photos or directly).
  • Autonomy, the ability to take action like opening blinds, adjusting lighting or temperature, and closing the door.
  • Sensory Comfort, including windows, ventilation, scent, noise levels, lighting.
  • Social Comfort, including support by others, chairs, tables, carpeting, as well as TV, media, radio, and internet.

Most surprisingly of all perhaps is that safety and security ranked as a higher priority than privacy, often considered the highest priority by many specifiers and designers. Privacy, in fact, came last in many analyses.

It is clear, then, that security has a large impact on patient wellbeing. Specifically, the ability to safely store belongings when in hospital receiving treatment. While those in charge of design and specification rightly focus on and invest in areas such as fire alarms and suppression, video access systems, mass notifications, and nurse call systems, they often overlook the simple but powerful effect secure patient storage has.

Thanks to studies such as this, the value of safe patient storage and the benefit it has on wellbeing is slowly becoming more of a priority. At present, most progress seems to be at the hospital level, where nursing staff and facilities departments are recognizing the benefit and retrofitting rooms to provide a safe storage area.

Progress is slower at the design and OEM level, where many specifiers are still to recognize the peace of mind offered to patients by secure storage areas and continue to overlook it during design and implementation. It is vital that when specifying a wardrobe door, for example, you specify with security in mind.

Lowe & Fletcher are on hand to make providing this peace of mind simple and cost-effective. Our keyless locks are designed to provide the highest level of security and are ideal for use in hospital and care settings. We want to make it easy for hospitals and trusts to provide this sense of security for every patient, and reduce the stress brought on when in for treatment.

To learn more about our keyless lock offering for hospitals, or to discuss your project requirements, please call us on +1 (616) 994 0490, or get in touch via our online contact form.


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