Research indicates that private bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms are preferred by residents and families (Zimmerman et al., 2002). Furthermore, many household model settings provide greater freedom for residents in terms of bringing their own furniture, or rearranging furniture within the room. This supports ‘personalisation’ and the importance of personal possessions that remind people of their past e.g., old chair, or dresser from their home (van Hoof et al., 2016). To enable this personalisation, Marshall (1998) and others often argue that bedrooms must be large enough to facilitate these personal belongings.  

A study by Burton and Sheehan (2010) states how residents noted the layout of their bedroom, and the position of the bed:

Participants remarked that the important features in their bedroom included: nice views of the outdoors, good layouts, and less commonly, home-like features, cosiness, practicality, comfort and privacy.

Not only are private rooms with ensuites linked to quality of life (Bergland & Kirkevold, 2006), but also with improved infection control, and can be used to isolate confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 and to facilitate visitors. The quality of these rooms is important and therefore size, good natural light and ideally access to a private outdoor space or balcony would improve the experience for the resident, visitor, and staff.  

The advantages of single rooms with private bathrooms was demonstrated in a Canadian study by Brown et al. (2021) who found that shared bedrooms and bathrooms in nursing homes are associated with larger and deadlier COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Since room is on the second floor – no direct access to outdoor space.

- Family member

As each bedroom has their own glass door and window, it made window visits easier for families.

- Staff

My bedroom is perfect, warm and cosy with a great view where I can watch the world go by.

– Resident

Key Findings

to outdoor

Lack of direct access to an outdoor space from resident bedrooms was found to be an issue across all case study sites; this issue was also consistently raised by all stakeholder groups. 


Lack of space for personal belongings was identified by a number of residents. 

for wheelchairs

Lack of space for people in wheelchairs or who use mobility aids, such as rollators, was identified by staff as an issue in this section of the questionnaire.   

for visitors

Lack of space in bedroom for visitors was identified as an issue by residents.