Healthcare News & Insights

2 unique amenities to boost patient morale & improve recovery

Hospitals are trying all sorts of different ways to prevent readmissions and help patients recover more quickly. Besides just focusing on their immediate medical needs, facilities are also looking at changes to make patients feel more human and less demoralized by their illnesses. 

One hospital achieved this goal for its patients by offering a unique amenity: slot machines.

Benefits of video poker

At HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Nevada, patients can unwind and play video poker at one of two new machines installed in the hospital. According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, the hospital installed the machines not just to help patients relax, but also to assist with their recovery.

HealthSouth treats patients who have experienced a variety of medical issues, including strokes, spinal cord injuries, amputations and other traumatic injuries. The video poker machines can be helpful to those whose injuries have affected their brains.

Specifically, gambling stimulates the prefrontal cortex, which controls patients’ cognitive abilities. Using a video poker machine can allow them to “retrain” this portion of the brain to work more effectively after it’s been damaged. Playing video poker can have positive effects on patients’ memory and attention span, as well as reteach them brain skills such as self-regulation and impulse control.

Providers at HealthSouth have also integrated the video poker machines into other aspects of patients’ therapy. Patients may be asked to use the machines while building standing tolerance when they have issues with mobility. Additionally, therapists may ask patients to wear wrist weights while playing video poker for 15-minute time periods, which helps the arm and wrist muscles get a workout.

Game machines are designed to only work for short sessions, and patients can use them without having to place bets using real money, since they’re designed to work with credits for wins and losses as currency.

Above all, the patients like getting to play video poker, and even those who may not need the therapeutic mental benefits enjoy getting to use the machines as a treat after participating in more grueling physical therapy sessions.

Dignity via hospital gowns

Another improvement some hospitals are exploring is better hospital gowns for patients. A gown that leaves patients less exposed makes them feel less vulnerable during their treatment, which can make them more empowered partners in their recovery.

Per an article from NPR, one woman has been on a journey to provide a more upscale hospital gown to patients being treated for cancer and other illnesses. The woman, Nikla Lancksweert, was inspired to create more fashionable gowns after watching her mother struggle to deal with the effects of her treatment for ovarian cancer.

Lancksweert’s mother often felt uncomfortable in a traditional hospital gown during treatment. And a few years after she succumbed to the disease, Lancksweert decided to create a clothing company for hospital patients in her honor.

INGA Wellbeing, named after Lancksweert’s mother, was designed to help patients “dress ‘well’ even when [they’re] unwell.” Lancksweert collaborated with nurses to figure out how to create gowns that looked fashionable while still providing quick access to the areas providers accessed frequently, such as the stomach and back.

Many of the gowns designed for women resemble dresses they’d wear outside the hospital, and clothing for men is similar to popular loungewear. The boost of confidence they receive from wearing more high-quality gowns can be beneficial to their recovery, making them more likely to do everything from getting out of bed and walking around to being active participants in their own care.

Gowns and other clothing from INGA Wellbeing can be ordered online by hospitals and patients.

Unique offerings like better hospital gowns, slot machines and other patient-focused features can be invaluable for hospitals looking to improve the experience patients have at their facilities. To boost value and quality, hospitals should be considering more uncommon features like these when looking for ways to improve patients’ treatment and care.

  • ShimC

    I have a few questions:

    1. What’s the hospital’s take on those video poker machines?

    2. Are they true medical devices that need to be regulated by the FDA?

    3. Is is really better to discard the low pair in an Ace high two -pair hand when playing Double Double Bonus Poker?

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