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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

One size fits all? Mixed methods evaluation of the impact of 100% single-room accommodation on staff and patient experience, safety and costs.

Maben J, Griffiths P, Penfold C, et al. BMJ quality & safety. 2016;25:241-56.

This study used robust research methods to examine the expected and unanticipated effects of moving to all single-occupancy inpatient rooms. The accompanying editorial points out that on the surface this seems like a common sense intervention likely to improve patient experience and safety. However, this study demonstrates the complex effects even seemingly straightforward interventions can create. Although two-thirds of patients preferred the single rooms, some patients felt more isolated and lonely. Staff expressed concerns about worsened visibility, surveillance, teamwork, and monitoring. In addition, staff workflows had to change significantly and their hourly walking distances increased substantially. There was no evidence that single rooms reduced infections. Although fall rates increased following the move, the researchers felt that based on the patterns and comparison to the control hospital, this may not have been attributable to the single rooms. As the editorial highlights, this study supports the importance of vigorously evaluating a range of impact measures, including quality, safety, costs, and staff and patient experiences.