Do hospitals really need so many beds?

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For many hospital patients — such as someone recovering from hip surgery, or a woman in labor — bedrest is not necessarily the best thing for health. Yet most hospitals are designed with a focus on beds.

In a Nov. 8, 2017 article in Politico, Neel Shah of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggested that hospitals should be designed differently in the future, with fewer beds, more room to walk, and more communal spaces to stave off the isolation of being alone in a hospital room. In fact, some patients might be better served if they weren’t in the hospital at all, but instead cared for through neighborhood services near their homes, wrote Shah, director of the Delivery Decisions Initiative at Ariadne Labs and research associate in the Harvard Chan Department of Health Policy and Management.

“The more we know about healing, the more it appears that health care spaces will need a different approach—one that sometime looks more like a park than a long fluorescent hallway full of beds,” Shah wrote.

Read the Politico article: The case against hospital beds