Patient Rooms

Patient Rooms Aren’t Just for Patients

The ideal patient room actually serves three distinct occupants: patient, family and caregiver. In this sense a well-designed patient room should have three zones. Thinking about the needs of each helps to determine the most comfortable and efficient way to orient the entire space.

First is the patient zone. When patients feel a sense of ownership over their surroundings they feel more involved and more connected to their caregivers. Next is the staff zone, typically with a sink, storage and counter. Finally there is a family zone where visitors can be comfortable while being fully supportive of the patient. Access is a key feature for all three zones. Caregiver access to the patient, patient access to the bathroom, and access to vital information is important for everyone.


  • Patient rooms should consider the needs of three primary users: patients, family and caregivers. Patients need a place for personal belongings such as cards and flowers. Visitors need to be fully present without being in the way of staff. Caregivers need to work efficiently and connect closely with patients.
  • Lighting must meet the comfort needs of the patient while meeting the work requirements of the staff, especially at night. Consider zoning light sources.
  • The patient room is also a workplace for the caregivers. Consider providing space at the room threshold for activities such as charting, temporary storage of supplies and equipment, and impromptu meetings without blocking the corridor.