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Objective The objective of the survey was to determine whether older adults would prefer to be in a single room or a room shared with other patients following admission to an acute hospital.
Methods In 2015, we surveyed inpatients on their room preference. Using a physician administered questionnaire, information was obtained from patients who agreed to participate. Patients were asked their preferred choice of room and their preferred meal location either at bedside or a common dining room with other patients. Patients in single rooms were also asked if they felt lonely in their room. Reasons for their answers were also sought.
Results 160 patients (80 men and 80 women) participated in the study. Mean age was 78 years (65 – 96 years) and average length of stay was 23 days (1–233 days). 116 (72.5%) patients were in shared rooms while 44 (27.5%) patients were in single rooms. 62% of patients in shared rooms said they would prefer shared accommodation, whereas 63.6% of patients in single rooms expressed preference for single rooms (p < 0.0001). A higher number of patients (71.6% of those in shared rooms and 52.3% of those in single rooms) preferred to have their meals at their bedside (p = 0.103). 72.3% of patients in single rooms said they never felt lonely in their room.
Conclusion The results from our survey shows that the room type patients were already exposed may likely be responsible for the marked difference in room preference. Contrary to other arguments, our report neither supports favoured ratios, all single room accommodation nor all shared accommodation but highlights the need to address privacy and protected meal times.