Despite all of the privacy laws and regulations when it comes to medical care, one area that often lacks privacy in a hospital room or emergency room is the cubicle where exams take place. When the curtains are not wide enough to extend the full distance of the available tracking that is in the ceiling, an exam or procedure that was supposed to be private can become very public to passersby or others in adjoining cubicles or hallways. Cubicle curtains that are not wide enough can leave patients feeling exposed and vulnerable.

Hospitals and other medical facilities would do well to ensure that the cubicle curtains that they order are designed to fit the available tracks. Clearly, a “one size fits all” mentality is not sufficient when it comes to cubicle curtains as evidenced by the fact that so many curtains in so many institutions fail to close fully and to provide a level of privacy that would be considered adequate by most patients or families.

One of the tricks to ensuring that cubicle curtains will be wide enough to fully cover the cubicle is to make sure that the company that is manufacturing them allows for extra width beyond the measured length of the track. A good rule of thumb is to allow for approximately 10 percent more width on the actual cubicle curtains than the length of the track itself. The fullness provided by that extra 10% allows the curtain to fully screen the area when extended, shielding patients from those outside of the cubicle.

If you are not ordering cubicle curtains from a company that will custom-size each individual curtain to the available tracks, it is time to look for a company that will do that so you can provide your patients and their families with a level of privacy that respects their dignity and is commensurate with the privacy policies that are already in place in your institution when it comes to the release of patient information. The advantage of being able to order custom-made cubicle curtains that will fit on your existing tracking system instead of requiring the installation of brand new tracks is also a huge plus.

If you are responsible for the cubicle curtains at your hospital, make sure to honor the privacy of your patients by providing curtains that extend the full distance of the track so that exams and procedures that are meant to be hidden from public view remain that way. No one wants to feel exposed, especially when they are in a hospital exam room or in need of emergency medical attention.

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