While some dental clinics focus on treating specific segments of the population, a lot of practices treat everyone, from children, to adults, to the elderly.
Because different demographics have differing needs, it’s useful to approach your dental practice fitout or refurbishment from an inter-generational design perspective. This means designing your practice to meet the specific needs of each generation of patients, rather than simply designing to suit your “average” patient.
Inter-generational dental practice design is equitable, inclusive, and accessible. When your clinic is designed with this in mind, it is more welcoming and comfortable for all your patients.
Below are some inter-generational design ideas you could include in your dental practice.
When designing for elderly patients, a key thing to consider is that many will experience reduced mobility. That may mean they use wheelchairs or walkers, or it may simply mean that they struggle to get out of low chairs.
Wide corridors and doorways, spaces for “parking” walkers alongside treatment chairs, lower reception desks, and comfortable, supportive chairs can all address these needs. It’s also important to ensure your flooring and furniture don’t create any tripping hazards. Do this, and you’ll be well on the way to catering for your elderly patients.
Kids need to play. To design your practice for kids, consider including toys, televisions, or craft/colouring stations that will keep your smallest patients occupied. You may also want to add interesting and colourful murals, pictures, or paintings.
Because small children running around or dropping toys can present a hazard to elderly patients, a good idea for intergenerational practices is to have separate spaces that cater to kids. In larger practices, a separate play room may be the answer. Smaller practices can use play pens or other physical barriers to keep kids amused and keep older patients safe.
While it might seem that default dental design caters to working-aged adults, there are always additional elements you can consider to make your dental practice even more welcoming and convenient for your adult patients.
Free Wi-Fi is a great start – particularly if you look after professional patients. These patients may also appreciate work desks or stations where they can take care of business on the run. For patients with kids, your separate kids’ area is likely to be the main thing they want. After all, it makes amusing kids that much easier, and keeps them out from underfoot.