Patient rooms are some of the most important spaces in your healthcare facility. A well-planned patient room prioritizes patient health, safety, and comfort without sacrificing the all-important functionality and efficiency your medical staff needs to provide top-notch care. 


How can you make this ideal a reality? With thoughtful patient room design. 


Here’s a guide to patient room measurement and planning, including some pointers from expert firms in the healthcare design industry. 

6 Steps to Patient Room Measurement

Start your planning process by taking thorough measurements of each patient room. A clear understanding of square footage and other elements like window width can help you choose a layout that’s comfortable and functional for patients and providers. 


Here’s how to measure a patient room in 6 quick steps:

  1. Make sure you have a drawing of the floor plan. You can get one from your leasing office, create one yourself, or use a tool like RoomSketcher. Don’t forget to include doorways and windows.

  2. Next, measure the perimeter of each patient room and record the exact width of each wall on the floor plan. 

  3. Measure the length and width of doors and windows and record measurements on the floor plan. 

  4. Note other common patient room elements that may affect your space planning, such as sinks, emergency alert buttons, and emergency power backup outlets (typically marked in red). 

  5. Record the placement of common features like standard electrical outlets, columns, breaker boxes, and HVAC control pads or vents.

  6. Finally, measure the ceiling height and record it on your floor plan. 


That’s it—patient room measurement is done, and we’re on to the next step: planning.


4 Pointers for Patient Room Planning

Each patient room should be planned for maximum provider efficiency and patient comfort. Here are 4 crucial elements to consider while planning:

1. Designate patient and provider zones

For maximum efficiency and comfort, split the room into at least two “zones”—one designated for providers and one designated for patients. 


The patient zone should include an exam table and chairs. If the patient room will be used for longer stays, this zone may also include entry to a small bathroom, a television, a call button, and a rolling tray table for meals. Keeping patient-related items in close proximity can help prevent falls and injuries in patients with limited mobility.  


The provider zone should include the sink, supply storage, and unencumbered access to common equipment like blood pressure cuffs. Place the provider zone near the front of the room so medical staff can enter and exit with ease and perform their duties without being required to move around furniture or fixtures. Especially in emergency situations, efficiency is paramount. 

2. Plan for increased provider efficiency

While we’re on the topic of efficiency, let’s look at 2 meaningful changes healthcare architecture firm HMC Architects has integrated into their facility designs

  1. The HMC Architects team found that nurses often struggle to reach items on the top shelves in patient rooms or supply closets. This problem can be easily remedied by placing essential equipment and supplies in lower locations or even installing shelving and cabinetry lower on the wall. Keep this in mind when planning your patient rooms. 

  2. If space is limited, consider installing medical equipment in the ceiling. Ceiling-supported patient lifts and IV poles free up floor space and allow staff to move through the room more quickly. 


Both of these changes can improve functionality for providers and save precious seconds during an emergency. Keep efficiency top of mind as you plan—if there are layout or design changes you can make to improve efficiency, do so.

3. Choose furniture that’s up to the task

You’ll want to consider both form and function when choosing patient room furniture. The ideal furniture withstands wear, can be easily cleaned, and doesn’t foster bacteria growth. 


This means you should opt for acrylic solid surface or laminate materials for tables, counters, and desktops. 


When shopping for seating, look for PVC-free vinyl, polyurethane, or Crypton upholsteries—all of which can be easily wiped down and are resistant to staining and bacteria growth. For ultimate durability, metal frames will hold the most weight and hold up through years of heavy use.


Planning a waiting room too? See healthcare waiting room furnishings here.

4. Decorate with the patient experience in mind

After you’ve laid out all the functional elements of the room, think about how you can use design to foster a positive patient experience. Even minor adjustments to decor can have a lasting impact. 


For example, global architecture firm Gensler studied how design affects patient experience in waiting rooms and found that familiar decor improved patients’ perceptions of their waiting room experience and decreased complaints by 25%. Leverage this concept for patient rooms by incorporating familiar elements like a map of the neighborhood or locally favored colors and fabrics. 


Consider location too: It’s common for artwork to be hung above beds or exam tables—meaning patients typically can’t see it. Place art or other visually interesting elements where patients can enjoy them. 


If your patient rooms have windows, offer patients a view whenever possible. Adjusting the angle of the bed so patients can look out the window can boost their mood and improve their overall experience. 

Short on Time? Let the Pros Plan Your Patient Room

If you don’t want to add anything else to your to-do list, we can help. Take advantage of our free office design services, and we’ll assess your needs, craft custom patient room plans for you, and help you select the right furniture.


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