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The Hospital Roommate Is Almost Extinct

The Lunder Building at Massachusetts General Hospital features 150 private rooms. (Courtesy MGH)

The Lunder Building at Massachusetts General Hospital features 150 private rooms. (Courtesy MGH)

Imagine a room filled with sunlight, swanky furniture, a flat screen TV, your own private bed. On call assistance. Sounds like a spa, or an upscale hotel.

Except, it’s not. It’s a private room. In a hospital.

Gone are the huge patient wards. And now also going — shared rooms. Private rooms for all patients is the new trend in hospital care, especially among many of the top-tier hospitals in Massachusetts.

We take a closer look and wonder, when we lose a roommate, do we lose anything else?

Share your stories in the comment section.


  • Rachel Zimmerman, co-host, WBUR’s CommonHealth blog
  • Jeanette Clough, president and CEO, Mount Auburn Hospital


Other stories from this show:

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  • Nancy

    My dad just completed a two week stay at Lahey in Burlington where he hardly got any sleep.  The machines beeped loudly 24/7 and what for?  Nobody came running.  Can’t the hospitals somehow connect the machines to the nursing station, so the patient can sleep?   They have private rooms, which is nice, but interrupted sleep makes for a very long recuperation.

  • Anonymous

    I had to chuckle when one of the commentators shared her story about her father’s positive roommate experience in a semiprivate hospital room. Believe me, dear, roommates in hospital are overwhelming more problematic than helpful in my own extensive experience as a patient. This is a case where safety-in-numbers definitely does not apply. BRAVO, Mount Auburn. 

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