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How much info can a roommate get?

Posted

I'm guessing it's close to none.

The reason I ask is that occasionally somebody will have to be moved from a semiprivate room to a private room until they've ruled out for something infectious. Does the other patient occupying the room have any right to know that they may have been exposed to something?

I had had a patient moved once until they were ruled out for flu and her roommate had cancer. We weren't able to tell the roommate anything but she was so afraid that she'd been exposed to something while her immune system was weakened that she was crying. Even if we did tell her exactly what was going on with the woman who was moved, she may not have felt better but I always wondered if there was a better way to go about the whole process.

calivianya, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

I think a better question with that scenario is why someone suspected of having the flu was placed into a semiprivate room, let alone a semiprivate room with an oncology patient. I might just write an incident report about bed control on that one, unless the suspected flu patient was originally admitted for something else and flu was suspected later.

It was the latter. The pt was admitted for something else and then later showed flu like symptoms. She eventually ruled out but the way the whole thing played out left me wishing for a better way of handling it.

I've never known it to be permissible to tell a roommate ANYTHING about why the other occupant was moved. People are exposed to a bazillion things on a daily basis, but that doesn't give anyone the right to know specifically what the roommate may or may not have now.

I know you're right. There was something about the other patient crying (and I totally understand her anxiety) that stuck with me and made me wish there was some way to make her feel better without violations the other patient's privacy.

Maybe someday all our pt rooms will be private and it won't ever be an issue again. I can dream...

Red Kryptonite

Specializes in hospice. Has 3 years experience.

Gosh...why can't we just give people the simple gift of privacy when dealing with major illness? The only people admitted to hospitals these days are extremely ill or in need of major surgery. Why should anyone have to deal with having a roommate during a time like that? Why should their visitors have to worry about disturbing a stranger, or being disturbed by one?

What is wrong with us that we haven't come further by now? :no:

Gosh...why can't we just give people the simple gift of privacy when dealing with major illness? The only people admitted to hospitals these days are extremely ill or in need of major surgery. Why should anyone have to deal with having a roommate during a time like that? Why should their visitors have to worry about disturbing a stranger, or being disturbed by one?

What is wrong with us that we haven't come further by now? :no:

For the facilities I've worked in (and still do) there simply isn't the ROOM to have all privates. Turning double rooms into singles means literally half the open beds, and THAT'S not gonna happen. Build onto the hospitals? Well....that means millions of additional dollars spent that the hospitals don't have courtesy of crappy reimbursements. And then there's the hospitals that CAN'T expand because of their location constraints.

Nope....privacy is something to be metered out PRN :(

For the facilities I've worked in (and still do) there simply isn't the ROOM to have all privates. Turning double rooms into singles means literally half the open beds, and THAT'S not gonna happen. Build onto the hospitals? Well....that means millions of additional dollars spent that the hospitals don't have courtesy of crappy reimbursements. And then there's the hospitals that CAN'T expand because of their location constraints.

Nope....privacy is something to be metered out PRN :(

Fortunately PRN privacy is not true everywhere.

In my area ALL 7 hospitals have ONLY PRIVATE rooms. 1 is a public hospital. 4 are private non-profit hospitals. 2 have religious affliations. It has been this way for at least 20 years.

Fortunately I haven't had the opportunity to check out all the ERs, but the one I have been in had all private rooms for ER patients. There were no curtained areas and no beds in the hall. The outpatient surgery area had all private rooms with private bathrooms. In both areas, patients and families were NOT allowed to be in the halls in order to insure the privacy of patients. Even NICU, PICU, ICU are private rooms.

As far as not being able to expand because of location constraints the hospitals here have added floors onto the existing facility, bought surrounding buildings and torn them down to add onto the hospital, and moved unnecessary personnel (business office, IT, etc.) out of the hospital. One hospital just moved the entire hospital to a new location.

If the hospital thought they were going to lose patients to other hospitals, they would find the money.

Fortunately PRN privacy is not true everywhere.

In my area ALL 7 hospitals have ONLY PRIVATE rooms. 1 is a public hospital. 4 are private non-profit hospitals. 2 have religious affliations. It has been this way for at least 20 years.

Fortunately I haven't had the opportunity to check out all the ERs, but the one I have been in had all private rooms for ER patients. There were no curtained areas and no beds in the hall. The outpatient surgery area had all private rooms with private bathrooms. In both areas, patients and families were NOT allowed to be in the halls in order to insure the privacy of patients. Even NICU, PICU, ICU are private rooms.

As far as not being able to expand because of location constraints the hospitals here have added floors onto the existing facility, bought surrounding buildings and torn them down to add onto the hospital, and moved unnecessary personnel (business office, IT, etc.) out of the hospital. One hospital just moved the entire hospital to a new location.

If the hospital thought they were going to lose patients to other hospitals, they would find the money.

Oh, I hear ya. But it IS a significant problem in other areas, like I said. Hospitals aren't afraid of losing patients to other hospitals, because the setup I described is commonplace in my area. Someone wants to go to another hospital because that hospital only has privates? Good luck with that. They're ALL in this boat. There are SOME privates, but most are semis. Some CAN'T build upward because of zoning laws in place. Some cannot buy adjoining property either, because it's owned by entities who will not move (old ideas, long-discussed, but....not gonna happen).

Some of these hospitals already struggle financially because of said crappy reimbursements, so they aren't looking for an expensive renovation. I do know of administrative areas that have been farmed out to other locations, allowing some expansion, but that doesn't really relieve the problem of doubled rooms.

The hospitals in question have been there for upwards of a hundred years, and some longer. The smallest rooms ARE now privates, simply because they don't fit modern equipment AND a roommate! But overall.....until the entire hospital(s) get ripped down and rebuilt, possibly elsewhere....people can expect the possibility of a roommate, if a private isn't available. It is what it is. :(

nrsang97, BSN, RN

Specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg. Has 20 years experience.

We have mostly double room at my facility. We have nowhere to expand. We can't really build up either. In the physical rehab and psych rehab we have 4 bed rooms. Those old ward style rooms. Yes, we still use them. Are they ideal? Of course not, but we can't make all floors with private rooms or we will lose over half the beds in the hospital.

LynM75

Specializes in M/S, pedi. Has 17 years experience.

Where I work we still have 4 pts in a room. I did have an instance where someone tested positive for flu. We had to notify MD's of the other 3 pts and they came and told the other pts that they were exposed and offered prophylactic tamiflu.

There is new policy in place to screen all resp pts for flu in the ED now as a result of this.

In my opinion the immunocompromised (possibly neutropenic) cancer patient should have been placed in a private room right at admission or onset of immune system dysfunction/neutropenia. This would help place a barrier so that if a patient in a semi-private room becomes infectious after admission, the cancer patient is not accidentally exposed. I think this was a bed control issue with improper patient placement.

RainMom

Specializes in PACU, pre/postoperative, ortho. Has 10 years experience.

This would help place a barrier so that if a patient in a semi-private room becomes infectious after admission, the cancer patient is not accidentally exposed.

Not to mention avoiding exposure to whatever the roommate's family & visitors carry in (unaware of the cancer pt's dx & increased susceptibility to any illness)....