Inpatient bathrooms: A quick 101 course
I spent a half an hour in the shower with a hospital CEO recently. No, it wasn't some kind of illicit rendezvous. This hospital administrator was sincere in his desire to go through all aspects of the patient experience—including the patient bathrooms being designed for his new patient care tower—before he approved the mock-up. He talked about how getting up and taking a shower was such a milestone in the recovery of many patients and how it gave them a psychological boost. He also talked about the challenges for the nursing staff, in both assisting patients into the room and ensuring their safety from falls or other mishaps.
At this particular facility, we are running a patient lift device just to the door of the bathroom. However, I’ve seen other facilities take the lift all the way into the bathroom, which can make for some strange detailing at the door frame. We are putting in the "European-style" shower, which is great if the slab is sloped perfectly and not so great if the quality control breaks down. Nonslip tile is a must, but I'm not sure the nurses trust that—many times I've seen them spread a towel or sheet on the floor so that the patient steps out onto something more firm than a wet tile floor. It can also be an interesting exercise to decide where to put the "tp" holder in a European shower bathroom, such that the product doesn't get soaked from shower spray. There is usually pressure to keep these rooms small, but they need to be big enough to handle a nonambulatory patient, to achieve both ADA compliance and have room for waste cans, linen bins, and a good-sized shower seat. A suggestion at turnover time: instruct the nursing staff on the operation of the shower mixing valve. They are not all the same and not always intuitive to use.