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Hospital Design May Not Boost Patient Satisfaction, Research Suggests

Aesthetics aren't as important as care from doctors, nurses and staff, study notes

FRIDAY, Feb. 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Hospital design has little effect on patient satisfaction, according to a new study.

Researchers analyzed surveys of more than 5,600 hospital patients in both newly renovated facilities and older facilities.

"Our team wanted to know how important aesthetics are to a patient's experience with care. So we looked at surveys from patients before and after a move. We then compared those results to satisfaction surveys from patients being cared for on similar units that had not undergone a move to a new facility," said study author Dr. Zishan Siddiqui. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"We originally thought new and pleasing surroundings would improve patient satisfaction scores with physicians, nurses and overall care, but our study showed this is not the case," Siddiqui said in a Hopkins news release.

The study appears in the March issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Some hospital officials believe that improving their facilities to be more patient-focused will automatically improve patient satisfaction.

"Not so. Hospital leaders will have to stop blaming poor patient satisfaction scores on aging buildings and units," Siddiqui said.

"Although we did see significant improvement in facility-related satisfaction scores [in newer facilities], we did not see significant change in satisfaction related to care, or overall satisfaction, for that matter," he added.

More effective ways to improve patient satisfaction include training health care providers on personalized care, educating patients, and involving families in care decisions, the researchers said.

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SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Medicine, news release, Feb. 25, 2015
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