At Shannondale, we’re dedicated to delivering comfort and a sense of well-being, but the health outcomes of our senior residents and our physical rehab patients at WellPark are critical, too. One of the key ways we deliver on this is through our 100% private rooms in our Health Care Center and at WellPark, our short-term physical rehabilitation facility. This feature is unique as many other options in our area do not offer this perk. We, however, find it to be important when considering the health of those we care for. These are the reasons why private rooms benefit senior residents and physical rehab patients.
1. Private Rooms Decrease Infection and Sickness
Living a shared vs private room has implications for the health of residents and patients. In the study “Exploring the Cost and Value of Private Versus Shared Bedrooms in Nursing Homes” published in The Gerontologist, there is a reduced risk of developing a contagious infection in a private room. One study found that roommates of nursing home residents infected with the influenza virus were more than three times more likely to contract the infection than those living in private rooms. The same can be said for other dangerous viral infections such as COVID-19. Whether a senior or recovering from a surgery, both categories are at higher risk to have adverse reactions due to a suppressed immune system.
2. Private Rooms Support Better Sleep
Whether you’re choosing a senior living option for you or an aging family member, or choosing a short-term physical rehab facility, it’s helpful to consider how well you’ll sleep. After all, sleep improves brain function, supports a healthier heart, improves mood and maximizes physical health and performance. Overall, it enhances your quality of life and the effects of lack of sleep are detrimental. There is strong evidence that shared rooms negatively affect sleep patterns. During interviews and focus groups, nursing home residents and staff linked shared rooms with poor sleep patterns.
3. Private Rooms Provide Space for Visiting Family or Friends
Staying social is one of the most important things seniors can do to improve their quality of life, and a simple visit from family members helps ward off that feeling of isolation. Visiting also leads to a variety of benefits for emotional and physical health. It shows the family member you care, allows you to check up on his or her health and sparks positive memories. For those recovering from a surgery at our WellPark facility, visitors are just as important as these patients reap the healing benefits of social interaction as well. And, when facing a difficult recovery, a friendly, familiar face goes a long way. A private room not only provides the space for visitors, but much-needed one-on-one time.
4. Private Rooms Allow for Peace and Privacy
Who doesn’t value their privacy? Unfortunately, this is often overlooked in both senior housing and short-term rehab. The study “Older People’s Perceived Autonomy in Residential Care: An Integrative Review,” explores how perceived autonomy can impact health and well-being. Autonomy is considered as a sign of respect, dignity and human value, and without it, can lead to depression and reduced quality of life. Factors that play a role in autonomy for seniors include the ability to rest and sleep when desired, make choices about social interactions and visitors and even just the ability to decorate their own room. This is true of physical rehabilitation as well. Many of our patients are accustomed to autonomy, and in most cases, sharing a room would be a drastic change during a period of recovery.
5. Residents and Patients Prefer Private Rooms
A survey among senior residents at Royal Victoria Hospital found that 84.8% communicated a preference for single room accommodation and a majority reported they never felt lonely in a single room. It’s not surprising that people do prefer a private option. At our Health Care Center, our residents enjoy having a space they can call their own and enables them to feel at home. And at WellPark, as patients recover, the private suite provides comfortable, hotel-like accommodations with their own bathroom that make the healing process all the more comfortable.
One case that is often made for shared rooms is the benefit of socialization with a roommate. While it’s true that socialization is a major contributor to improved mental health and mood, at Shannondale we address socialization through other means. For example, at our Health Care Center, we offer ample group activities, communal dining and opportunities for our senior residents to meet and connect. And at WellPark, the same is true. Our short-term physical rehab facility is designed with socialization and entertainment in mind. Our patients enjoy restaurant-style meals at our café, the fresh air in our outdoor park, entertainment in our on-site movie theatre or even a stroll through our town-like setting.
It’s important to also keep in mind that Shannondale is a Continuum of Care Retirement Community (CCRC). This means that we offer circles of care that include a spectrum of options to ensure all of our residents have a place to call home no matter the level of care desired from independent living, to assisted living, to our Health Care Center and also short-term physical rehab at WellPark. With independent living and assisted living, residents have their own free-standing home or apartment offering privacy—but this privacy is just as important for our residents in our Health Care Center and WellPark. Unfortunately, there are few options in these categories within the Knoxville and Maryville areas that do offer private rooms. Thus, we feel it’s critical to offer this necessary feature.
As you navigate senior living options for you or a family member, or you have a surgery planned and need a physical rehab facility, consider the value of a private room. Learn more about our Health Care Center and WellPark or contact us to schedule a tour.