- A hospital in Clermont-Ferrand, France is opening a wine bar in its palliative care center, open to the facility's terminally-ill patients.
- Patients will be able to invite friends and family to join them at the bar, where the hospital will provide "medically-supervised tastings." Staff will be specially trained in advance of the opening of the bar in September.
- "Why should we refuse the charms of the soil to those at the end of their lives? Nothing justifies such a prohibition," said Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital in a statement.
Leave it to the French. The bar is the first of its kind in France, although it seems a little surprising that no one has thought of this before. Says the hospital, terminally-ill patients have the right to "enjoy themselves" during what is often a particularly difficult daily life.
Hospitals in the U.S. are increasingly looking to the consumer market to create medical environments that are more comfortable and enjoyable for patients. A hospital in Texas has borrowed customer-first strategies from several major companies, like Starbucks' relaxing ambiance, Apple's upfront use of customers' names, and Ritz Carleton's "15-5" rule in which staff smile at customers from 15 feet away and greet them at five feet.
Still, it seems unlikely that this kind of offering will become commonplace, France or elsewhere. What works in a palliative care environment could pose serious risks in a general hospital setting. Even in its current iteration, Clermont-Ferrand's bar must be experimental to a certain degree, requiring close supervision by staff to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
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