Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Should all patients have single rooms?

The elephant in the single room debate: keeping patients active

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 22 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6333
  1. Julie Bernhardt, director1,
  2. Toby Cumming, exercise, cognition, and mood theme leader1
  1. 1AVERT Early Intervention Research Programme, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Heidelberg, 3081 VIC, Australia
  1. julie.bernhardt{at}

The overwhelming trend in new hospital design is for single bedrooms. As Pennington rightly points out, single rooms increase privacy and allow for better sleep, as well as helping in the fight against infections.1 However, they can lead to isolation and necessitate different practices or systems for monitoring safety. Whether we choose single or multi-bed rooms in our hospitals, what is missing …

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