Developing a Model of Care for a 4- to 6-Bedded Postanesthetic Recovery Unit: A Delphi Study

Louise McGuire, Timothy John Schultz, Janet Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Recovery units are typically open-plan rooms where all patients can be seen at all times; however, a new hospital has been built with 4- to 6-bed perioperative bays. The purpose of the study was to establish expert consensus regarding problems, benefits, and suggested solutions for the new design across four domains: patient safety, staff satisfaction, organizational efficiency, and maintenance of professional standards. Design: We conducted a Delphi study to inform the development of a model of care for this new design. Methods: A two-round Delphi study involved 71 recovery unit nurses from 13 countries. Problems, solutions, and any potential benefits of the new design were collected in round 1 and ranked in round 2. Findings: The highest ranked problems were mixing conscious and unconscious patients and need for safe skilled staffing levels. The highest ranked solutions were division of patients, increased safe skilled staffing, and staff education. Conclusions: Participants identified clear risks and mitigation strategies. Implementing these strategies should allow for a safer environment for both patients and staff. A model of care to ensure safety and quality in 4- to 6-bedded bay postanesthetic recovery units should address mixing of patients, staffing levels and staff education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-405
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing
Issue number4
Early online date10 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Delphi technique
  • hospital design and construction
  • patient safety
  • postanesthesia nursing


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