Purpose – As hospitals are now being designed with an increasing number of single rooms or cubicles, the individual preference of patients with respect to social contact is of great interest. The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of the experience of patients in an outpatient infusion center.
Design/methodology/approach – A total of 29 semi-structured interviews were conducted, transcribed and analyzed by using direct content analysis.
Findings – Findings showed that patients perceived a lack of acoustic privacy and therefore tried to emotionally isolate themselves or withheld information from staff. In addition, patients complained about the sounds of infusion pumps, but they were neutral about the interior features. Patients who preferred non-talking desired enclosed private rooms and perceived negative distraction because of
spatial crowding. In contrast, patients who preferred talking, or had no preference, desired shared rooms and perceived positive distraction because of spatial crowding.
Research limitations/implications – In conclusion, results showed a relation between physical aspects (i.e. physical enclosure) and the social environment.
Practical implications – The findings allow facility managers to better understand the patients’ experiences in an outpatient infusion facility and to make better-informed decisions. Patients with different preferences desired different physical aspects. Therefore, nursing staff of outpatient infusion centers should assess the preferences of patients. Moreover, architects should integrate different types
of treatment places (i.e. enclosed private rooms and shared rooms) in new outpatient infusion centers to fulfill different preferences and patients should have the opportunity to discuss issues in private with nursing staff.
Originality/value – This study emphasizes the importance of a mix of treatment rooms, while new hospital designs mainly include single rooms or cubicles.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • health care centers
  • facilities management
  • physical environment
  • patients


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