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Florida Hospital Waterman, Tavares, Florida

January 2014
EDAC Advocate Firm Project
Florida Hospital Waterman Tavares, Florida

Gresham smith & partners

Firms role on the project: Reduce noise, decrease fall risk, improve patient privacy.


EBD Goal

To reduce noise levels, decrease fall risks and improve overall patient perceptions of privacy and quality of care, designers and hospital staff studied the impact of two different patient room configurations at Florida Hospital Waterman.






Renovations to Florida Hospital Waterman in Tavares, Fla. offered an excellent opportunity for an experiment comparing conditions on the existing 5th floor with those on the recently renovated 6th floor. On the 5th floor, the head of the patient’s bed is clearly visible from the radial nursing station, unless patients elect to close a privacy curtain. While nurses commented that they liked this configuration and could observe patients without having to enter the patient’s room, the hospital had received numerous complaints from patients about noise and privacy levels. Additionally, hospital administrators were concerned that patient perceptions of the quality of care received were adversely impacted when nurses and staff viewed patients from the corridor or central nursing station instead of entering patient rooms. 


To improve acoustics and address privacy concerns, designers relocated the head of the patient bed to the wall behind the inboard toilet, out of sight of the central nursing station. The hypothesis was that relocating the patient bed would increase staff member presence in patient rooms, lower noise levels in the patient rooms, and improve patient perceptions of privacy and quality of care at Florida Hospital Waterman. Additionally, designers anticipated a decrease in patient fall rates because of the increased likelihood of nurses being present in the patient’s room.

A research study, conducted by representatives from Gresham, Smith and Partners and representatives from Florida Hospital Waterman, observed hospital staff and evaluated patient HCAHPS ratings for the 5th floor and the renovated 6th floor to determine the impact of the new patient bed configuration.  Complete results of this study are not finished, but preliminary indications support the hypotheses. For example, the acoustical portion of the study has been completed, and results indicate an estimated 5-decibel reduction in noise levels on the 6th floor, where patient beds were relocated. This represents a significant reduction in overall noise, and will likely impact how patients perceive their environment and level of care.

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