Thursday, August 21, 2008

Peaceful, beautiful...and CHEMO?

…Laura Landro (WSJ, Aug 20, 2008) reminds us of those ratty, icky-smelling, often dim imaging rooms and chemo suites. HA has never had chemo but is no fan of the plasticy smelling x-ray rooms in most hospitals and imaging joints.

…Bad enough to have some giant hunk of junk looming over you and lying on a flat, rock-like slab.

…For chemo, patients sit in slicky La-Z-Boy type chairs in a cramped space for hours as poison runs into them. They even call these “corrals,” like the patients are livestock.

…A window, a waterfall, a sound system! Something!

…Many hospitals are wising up—curtaining off “corral” spaces, knocking out windows and skylights (even over X-ray machines) and making the spaces better for patients and staff. Better morale there, remember, can affect patient care and cut the grumpies.

…One facility, the new breast center at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland has an atrium with the sound of water and birds chirping. Light flows in. At another center in Seattle, patients watch seaplanes land and take off.

…This is a new field—evidence-based design—where studies measure the effects of surroundings and techniques on outcomes.

…Of course, some people say in this age of rising costs, these are expensive frills. But the studies show stress reduction, reduced use of meds, and better outcomes from these changes.

…It’s the machines that cost—the waterfalls are only a ...drop of that.

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