Former Princeton Borough Mayor Marvin Reed Meets the "Hospital Room of the Future"

Aug 10, 2010

Model Room Built by Princeton HealthCare System Providing Ideas, Innovations to Benefit All Hospitals

Former Princeton Borough Mayor Marvin Reed recently became one of the first patients to stay in a new hospital room at University Medical Center at Princeton – a room that will be a prototype for those built in the new hospital in Plainsboro, and potentially influence the design of hospital rooms across the nation.

“It was quite nice,” said Reed, who underwent hip replacement surgery at the hospital on June 30, beginning a stay of three days.  “The décor and the color scheme were very attractive. The fact that it was a single room was very nice, and it was also designed well for the comfort of visitors.”

Reed was more than just a patient. By staying in the room, he became part of an ongoing research project to determine how the overall configuration of a hospital room – as well as countless details relating to the types and placement of materials, equipment and furnishings – can improve patient safety and comfort, health outcomes and the efficient delivery of healthcare.

Princeton HealthCare System is studying how a room’s design impacts events such as medication errors, hospital-acquired infections, patient slip-and-falls, as well as the satisfaction of patients, their families, hospital staff and physicians.

The answers will not only influence how rooms are built at the new hospital, University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, but potentially prompt a rethinking of hospital room design nationally.   Funded by a $2.8 million research grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Model Patient Room initiative is part of The Pebble Project, a program of the national Center for Healthcare Design that promotes research on how the physical spaces of a hospital can contribute to patients’ healing and improved healthcare efficiency.

“This room is an interactive learning laboratory for testing, refining and discovering ideas that will benefit patients and improve the efficient delivery of healthcare,” said Barry Rabner, president and CEO of Princeton HealthCare System. “What we learn from this project will not only be of use to our hospital, but to others in the process of building or renovating hospitals.”

Reed’s surgeon, orthopedic specialist W. Thomas Gutowski, MD, liked what he saw.

“The room is larger, which facilitates the recovery of an orthopedic patient, because there is more room for getting out of bed, using your walker and just moving around,” said Gutowski. “Falls can be a concern with orthopedic patients, as well as other patients, and this room is designed to minimize falls. The bed is lower to the ground, the bathroom is closer to the bed and easily accessible. All in all, it’s a larger, safer and more friendly place for patients to recover, and for patients’ families to be with them.”



Former Princeton Borough Mayor Marvin Reed and orthopedic surgeon W. Thomas Gutowski, MD, in the model patient room at University Medical Center of Princeton. The room is a working prototype for the rooms to be built in the new hospital in Plainsboro, and part of a research study in heatlhcare design.