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Enhancing A Speedy Recovery

If you were booking a room at a hotel or renting a car, would you be surprised if you arrived to find that you were expected to share your room or your car with a complete stranger?

Of course you would. Why is it, then, that a hospital stay should be any different? Shared rooms are the norm at most hospitals nationwide, but at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, all acute care patients have the benefit of private rooms for inpatient stays.

Hospitals with semi-private rooms maintain that shared accommodations help to save the hospital money in construction, operating costs and upgrades. But St. Mary and other progressive hospitals across the country are demonstrating that efficiency and cost-savings are increased in private room only facilities.

Private rooms, which are standard at St. Mary, help cut down on infection rates. Studies shown that the rate of cross infection is much higher in facilities where patients share close quarters. By isolating all patients, you immediately lower the risk of infection, saving money for the patient, the insurer and the hospital, in medication costs, length of stay and procedures.

Private rooms also allow St. Mary to be in adherence with the stringent privacy guidelines set forth by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These are almost impossible to enforce in shared rooms, where roommates are privy to conversations of a personal nature. Additionally, patients enjoy a more restful stay in a private room which allows them to recuperate more quickly.

St. Mary seems to be on to something. The American Institute of Architects and the Facility Guidelines advocate private rooms as the standard in all new hospital construction. This reference is used by more than 40 states and the Joint Commission, the agency that oversees licensing or accrediting healthcare facilities nationwide.

Numerous studies have evaluated the benefits of private versus semi-private rooms in hospitals, finding that private rooms are better for the patient and cost-effective for the hospital in the long run. Studies show that medication errors are more common in facilities with more than one patient in a room. Staff can easily mix up which medication goes to which patient, potentially triggering a life-threatening interaction or reaction. Medication errors account for a large number of otherwise-unnecessary medical treatments.

Patients in shared rooms are less likely to be open about their condition with hospital staff. They also get less rest and more stress  because of intrusions like television, telephone or visitors to the other patient. Stress increases blood pressure and contributes to longer overall hospital stays. If patients can maintain better control over their recovery environment, stress levels are lowered and hospital stays are shortened.  

For more information, call 1-888-4STMARY (888-478-6279).

St. Mary Infection Rates Lower Than the National Average

Some hospitals do a better job at controlling infection than others. St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach routinely records infection rates significantly below the national and city-wide averages.

Greater control over infectious outbreaks and fewer outbreaks overall can be attributed to a variety of hospital precautions, but the biggest factor in St. Mary's success is that all rooms in the hospital are private. This limits the opportunity for cross-infection between patients, and allows physicians and staff the opportunity to properly disinfect their hands between patients.

Keep Loved Ones Near During Hospital Stays in our St. Mary Suites

The complete well-being of patients is the primary concern at St. Mary Medical Center. That is why St. Mary offers "St. Mary Suites" for patient stays, which boast an attached room where family members can sleep, allowing them to stay with the patient for the duration of his or her stay. Having loved ones nearby decreases patient stress, and allows family members to avoid the stress of long drives to and from the hospital during their patient's stay. The attached room allows everyone -- patient and family members alike -- to focus solely on the recovery of the patient. These suites are available to Platinum Members of the Senior Center and Partners of the St. Mary Medical Center Foundation.

"The Partner Program came about as a way for St. Mary to continue to provide the kind of personalized care that St. Mary is known for – not just for patients, but for their families as well," pointed out Drew Gagner, President of the St. Mary Foundation. "By offering these St. Mary Suites, we're allowing families to stay together during extremely difficult times. The benefactors of the Foundation have made a great effort to develop the Partner Program as a way to continue to progress the mission of care that St. Mary was built on."

The St. Mary Medical Center Foundation is the philanthropic arm of St. Mary Medical Center. It provides benefactors with a variety of programs through which they can support the hospital. Benefactors can attain Partner status with the Foundation by making gifts of $500 or more annually. Platinum members of the St. Mary Senior Center also give $500 annually and enjoy Partner benefits.

For more information about becoming a Foundation Partner, please call 562-491-9225. For more information about the benefits associated with membership at the Senior Center, call 562-491-9811.

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St. Mary Medical Center Long Beach
1050 Linden Ave
Long Beach, CA 90813
(562) 491-9000