Re-Designing a New Inpatient Unit: What Patients and Family Have To Say

I had the privilege today to talk with patients and family members regarding re-designing an inpatient unit. In any improvement project, I believe the patient and family voice is imperative to bring into the conversation as we seek solutions that keep their well-being at the center.

Our goal with this project is transform the way we deliver care in such a way that patients leave empowered and educated regarding their specific condition, enabling them to be as successful as possible at home when they are on their own. We want the space to help facilitate this new kind of care, allowing the form to follow the primary functions performed in the space.

One patient I spoke with reminded me how important the details are. She said the only thing she wants is for her remote to somehow “stick” to her table so that it will stop falling on the floor. She also said she’d like a rope or pully of some kind tied to the table because it gets pushed away from her and she can’t get it back. Speaking with her reminded me how important the details are even as we look at the bigger picture.

The big picture also is important. Another gentleman who was waiting for his wife to come out of surgery said to me, “You know what you need to do? You need to transfer the responsibility of recovery from the nurses to the patient.” I couldn’t help but smile. It was validating to know that patients and family members get this: they want to know how to be successful at home, where it matters. They are looking at the bigger picture too, because the bigger picture is their life.

It’s truly transformative. All too often the norm today is to take all control and all independence away from patients no matter what their level of care. In many cases this type of care sets them up for failure when they arrive home and there is no nurse or certified nurse assistant to help them manage their care.  All too often they end up back in the hospital.

Our challenge is to create care that sets them up for success, empowering them and then enabling them with resources and knowledge to take the reigns on their health so that they can lead the healthiest and fullest lives possible.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think healthcare should look like in the future.




  1. EXCELLENT! You naIled it. Sign me up. We need to enhance the patient and family role in healthcare. Let it begin here and now.


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