June 27, 2008

Construction forces changes to some VUH patient rooms

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Construction of Vanderbilt University Hospital’s third bed tower will temporarily impact the makeup of some patient rooms. (photo by Neil Brake)

Construction forces changes to some VUH patient rooms

The construction of the Critical Care Tower addition to Vanderbilt University Hospital will lead to the creation of a few semi-private rooms for the next year or so.

“During the construction of the tower, the crews will have to cut through to connect the new building to the old, and we will lose some hospital rooms in that process,” said Terrell Smith, director of Patient and Family Centered Care for VUH and The Vanderbilt Clinic.

“In order to accommodate our patients, and not lengthen the waiting time for people to receive our care, we will be opening several semi-private rooms during the transition period.”

While the changes will affect only a small number of rooms — about 28 out of the more than 500 in VUH — patients in those rooms will receive special consideration to help make up for the potential inconvenience.

“A patient placed in a semi-private room will receive additional amenities, such as free movies and food passes to the cafeteria,” Smith said.

Patients will also be carefully screened so that those with similar diagnoses and those staying only a short time will be more likely to be paired in a semi-private room.

Of course, patients sharing a room will always be of the same gender and will have no contagious diseases.

“We want to make everybody's stay here as comfortable as possible,” Smith said.

Semi-private rooms were common in hospitals in the past, but patient preference for private rooms led to their being phased out at VUH about 10 years ago.