I didnt know we still needed scientific studies to confirm what common sense usually tells us, but in this case, I guess they figured it couldn’t hurt. From the McGill University Health Center, research that’s been on-going since 2000 into whether or not private rooms in the ICU, as opposed to their multiple bed equivalents, might contribute to a reduction in hospital-aquired infections. And, no surprise to anyone who isn’t part of that research team, they do.
For the study, Dana Y. Teltsch, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health at McGill University, led a team who compared the rates of patient-acquired infections before and after the change from multi-bed rooms to private rooms.
As a control group, they also used data on patients at a similar multi-bed facility at a second university hospital. The authors then compared infection rates of a total of 19,343 ICU admissions at both hospitals between 2000 and 2005.
Rates of infection were reduced anywhere from 43 to 54 percent at the hospital with the private rooms during the study. In addition, patients in those private rooms were in for shorter stays than those still in the multi-bed arangements. And again, the only people who might have expected different results were on the research team.
Yes, private rooms are likely to cost more–at least if some of our hospitals and/or health insurance companies have anything to say about it. But you’re not then spending your time in a state where your immune system’s already pretty much broken sharing a room with 4 or 5 other people who’s immune systems may also be equally broken, some of whom may have been broken by default. Granted, my immune system works quite well–too well, some might say, but even for non-intensive care, if I can get away with it, I’ll stick myself in a private room. It’s not that I’m antisocial–well, okay, that might be part of it. But I’m in a freaking hospital overnight. There’s a reason for it. That reason likely has something to do with the fact I’m in no shape to be dealing with whatever other people happen to be carrying in with them. Nor would I want to be carrying something, knowingly or not, and risk handing it off to someone else while there. That, to me, is the height of asshole. Yeah, even if the assholes are the insurance folks who say you can’t have a private room because they’d really rather not pay for it. Common sense should, by all accounts, dictate that if you’re in a hospital, you should probably be in a private room if they can manage to spare one. And now common sense has a scientific study on its side. Now comes the fun part–watching to see if anyone actually does anything about it. In the meantime, I’ll stick to requesting my private room if ever I end up needing a room in a hospital at all.