The design of your waiting room sets the tone for your patients’ experience during their time at your healthcare practice. A well-planned and inviting waiting area means that your patients will head into their appointment feeling comfortable and at ease.
There are a few key elements to consider when designing a waiting room that will deliver a great first – and lasting – impression of your clinic. We explore four waiting room design fundamentals below.
To make the most use of the space in your waiting room, you need to start with your layout.
The reception desk should be the focal point of the waiting area and be easily visible as your patients enter the practice. Ideally, a receptionist should be able to see the entrance, the entire waiting area and the main passage to the consulting rooms. If a waiting patient ‘hidden’ around a corner of the waiting room becomes suddenly ill, reception staff must be able to observe and alert medical staff.
You should also try to position the reception desk with a reasonable amount of space between it and the seating areas. This will allow some privacy between the receptionist and patient when discussing medical conditions and personal contact details.
When designing your healthcare practice, your waiting room should be a high priority when it comes to allocating space.
A large waiting area allows people to have their own personal space, without feeling crowded by other patients. You should provide seating capacity in waiting areas for at least three appointments. This is approximately four to six chairs per consulting room, as patients often bring someone along.
Allocating an expansive space for your waiting room also provides you with the option to offer different seating choices. Lining up rows of identical plastic chairs in regimental fashion reminds people of formal occasions. Giving people different seating options – such as couches, separated single seating or child-friendly areas – goes a long way to helping your patients feel at ease.
Good quality seating, comfortable temperatures and acceptable noise levels are all key to ensuring your patients’ waiting room experience is a positive one.
No one likes to be greeted by cold, hard plastic chairs. One simple way to make your waiting room comfortable is to use chairs people actually want to sit on. For larger waiting rooms, consider using different fabrics and chair styles for each space, so patients can exercise a choice.
Another very effective way to make your patients feel comfortable is to incorporate a refreshment area in your waiting room. Coupled with comfortable seating this is a great way to ensure your patients’ wait is a pleasant one.
While neutral tones are a great choice, a splash of colour can transform any room. But you need to consider what works best for you and your clinic.
Bolder colours such as red and orange may be too intense for some patients, so it’s wise to use sparingly. Softer shades of blue and green can be applied more liberally, as these hues provide a calming effect for most.
Consider adding your colour choices through furnishings or artwork. This is a great way to incorporate colour without overwhelming the space. Feature walls – coloured or patterned – are another great way to give your waiting room a warm, inviting feel.
The Elite Fitout Solutions team can help to design your waiting room to make your patients feel comfortable, at ease and cared for.
Take a look at some of our recent work, or call us today on 1300 765 344 to discuss your design or fitout project.