Waiting happens in almost every healthcare setting – from the initial check-in, diagnosis, and treatment to anticipating a disease outcome. Although the actual waiting time varies in different types of facilities, the waiting experience is usually tedious and even stressful for many patients and their families. Therefore, it’s imperative to provide patients with a waiting experience and incorporate a waiting room design that reduces negativity and promotes calmness and wellbeing. There are three crucial considerations for waiting room design that will give a positive, comfortable and welcoming experience for patients.
- Waiting Room Design – Overall Layout
Have a solid understanding of where patients enter and exit the establishment. Signage should be strategically placed ensuring patients know where to go when they arrive. Your waiting room design should be open enough to allow foot traffic to flow freely, and if possible, patients should not have to retrace their steps or cross paths with other patients.
- Waiting Room Design – Furniture Selection
The most important part of your waiting room design is your furniture specification; providing patients with their first impression and ultimately their comfort level in your space. The focal point of a waiting room is usually the reception desk. It should be easily viewable and accessible from the entrance. Choose a reception desk that has adequate storage and a shape and finish that compliments your décor. Seating needs to be comfortable and attractive and have a variety of options; giving patients control as to where they sit. Decide how much furniture you’ll need; how many waiting chairs will be used on your busiest day and add tables to allow patients to have a place for drinks, purses, phones and reading material. Finally, any upholstered furniture needs to be healthcare grade quality and easy-to-clean to avoid healthcare-acquired infections.
- Waiting Room Design – Design Elements
In a medical environment, colors should be calm and tranquil. Color elements can be in the form of paint on a wall or artwork such as paintings and photography. Blue provides a sense of calm and peacefulness that can put people at ease. Beige is also calming and can help reflect light, making the waiting room appear warmer and airier. Brown is a great complimentary color when paired with something lighter. In your waiting room design, consideration should also be given to utilizing different sources of light to create a welcoming waiting room design. Natural light with a view of the outdoors provides a welcome distraction to those who are waiting.
Ultimately the goal is to provide a functional layout while combining lighting, furnishings and color for a positive and soothing waiting experience.