Single Rooms in Brunel



Three-quarters of the 800 beds in the new Brunel building at Southmead Hospital Bristol are single rooms. The most striking feature of the single rooms is how spacious they are; each single room is 16.6sqm in floor area. The ensuite bathroom is 5.3sqm.

Their size means that we’ve been able to incorporate features that make nursing more efficient and this means better care for our patients. Put simply, the ample space means we’ve been able to make it easier to work.

Each room has a wall-mounted medication cabinet, overhead tracking for a hoist, over-bed table, bedside basin and bedside locker. The size of the rooms allow for an electric profiling bed and reclining chair, which can also be used by visitors. A ‘smart-wall panel’ to the side of the bed-head incorporates oxygen, medical air, suction and, in some rooms, monitors. Throughout the room there are multiple power points.

Each 32-bed unit has 24 single rooms and two four-bed bays. We know that single rooms provide considerable benefits for patients, including control of infection, reducing risk of clinical errors (there are fewer distractions) and allowing privacy.

The main nursing station on each unit has a drug preparation area and each has a system of tubes enabling the immediate delivery of drugs to key points. An electric call panel flashes to show the room the patient is calling from.

Nursing in single rooms means new ways of working. Andrea Scott is a Matron for Medicine who has wide experience of single rooms at hospitals in this country and abroad. There are benefits for staff and, more importantly, patients, she says.

‘They’re calmer because there’s not constant disturbance of a Nightingale ward and so are more conducive to rest and recovery. And because there are fewer distractions you can focus more on patients and increase the amount of time you spend nursing them.‘

We’ve fed what we learned from other hospitals into the design of our units to support single-room working. For example, doorways are angled so that four rooms can be observed at once and each room has an observation window.

Between each pair of rooms there is a standing perch at which staff can write up notes or enter information electronically while maintaining good observation of patients.

Finally, each single room has an en-suite toilet and shower.