by Jen Jenkins, Market Analyst
Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas is gaining exposure, and it isn’t due to its plush newness, updated equipment, sophisticated technology, or a tragic event of 1963 (for readers who are familiar with the name “Parkland Memorial.”). Instead, Parkland is getting attention because each room in the hospital has been specifically designed to more effectively treat overweight patients, or more accurately, “the bariatric population.” This population is made up of patients who typically have a body mass index of 40 or higher and as the need to accommodate these patients has grown, so has the trend to redesign hospital rooms across the country.
According to Nancy Connolly, a senior executive at a hospital consulting group, “Most hospitals we are building are providing an increasingly larger percentage of rooms that can accommodate the larger person.” These changes are necessary due to the unique challenges obese patients tend to face: beds, wheelchairs, and other equipment need to be larger and sturdier which also means that door frames and the rooms themselves need to designed differently. This is now routinely kept in mind as old hospitals are updated and new hospitals are built.
Regardless of what this new trend may indicate, the overall idea moving forward is for hospitals to be designed with the “universal patient” in mind so that every single person may feel comfortable and accounted for. Many arguments can and are being made about what this means about our society, food consumption, economic issues, etc. However, in this scenario hospitals are simply doing what is necessary to be in a better position to care for patients in every way possible – which is undoubtedly their most pertinent responsibility. According to an article featured in The New York Times, although this trend is being seen across the country, Parkland has done an especially remarkable job in its new design, which will likely be replicated here on out.