chapter  4
20 Pages

The evolving patient room and PCU

From 1860 on, Nightingale was a firm non-believer in patient safety and privacy if it meant having to be confined in a small room, alone. Hospitals built in subsequent years for the most part provided some single-bed rooms, primarily for the purpose of isolation and as VIP suites, but the vast majority of configurations were open wards ranging from 4 to 24 patients.12 The single-bed room in the pre-World War II hospital was championed by those who saw it as the ideal means to achieve isolation for victims of plague, leprosy, violent outbreaks, tuberculosis, and those who championed it for socio-cultural purposes – and of course for those who could afford to pay for a single-bed room and the privacy that came with it. To its advocates the private room was and remains the ideal to strive for, the gold standard.13