When designing a waiting room for your doctor’s office, your first concern is probably the cleanability and safety of the reception area, and that’s a good thing. Patient and caregiver health should always come first when designing any space in a medical facility, but that isn’t to say that the aesthetics of the space should be ignored. A well-designed doctor’s office waiting room should make patients and their families feel comfortable and more at ease, given the nervous and frightened feelings many get simply from being in a healthcare facility. Here’s how to design your healthcare waiting room to be aesthetically pleasing and comfortable for patients and their families.
Consider Traffic Flow
First off, furniture in your waiting room should be arranged in a way that makes the space feel open and easy to navigate. Not only are large walkways necessary for the safety of patients and staff, but they’re also beneficial for the mental wellbeing of your guests. Chairs and tables that are too close together can make people feel confined, adding to the stress of being at the doctor.
In addition to optimizing the flow of your seating area, create clear paths to your reception desk and to all of your exam rooms. Making your guests search too hard to find their room or an information desk will almost certainly add to the stress of their visit.
Choose Comfortable Seating
Although it’s important that waiting room seating in a healthcare facility be durable and easy to clean, it should also be comfortable enough for your guests to relax in during their wait. Choose guest chairs that are well-padded, and incorporate a few different types of seating into your space. There should be chairs with arms for those who prefer to rest their arms, chairs without arms for those who don’t like them, bariatric seating for guests who need it and possibly loveseats or sofas for parents and children who want to use the same seat.
Think of Your Caretakers Too
Although you’ll certainly want to make your guests feel welcomed in your reception area, you should take measures to make your staff comfortable as well. After all, happy employees do the best work. Outfit your reception area with a receptionist desk that’s an appropriate size for the space and provides front desk staff with the filing and storage they need to do their job effectively. You’ll also want to make sure that your receptionist has a good ergonomic chair to sit in throughout the day to prevent fatigue.
Consider Calming Color Schemes
Even if your facility’s brand color is purple, that doesn’t mean your entire lobby should be painted violet. Remember, the name of the game in healthcare interior design is soothing. Choose colors that are neutral and soft, and try to make the room feel more like a really big home living room than a medical facility. Soft shades of green, brown or gray are great for waiting room walls, and chairs, tables and a reception desk in a soft wood colored laminate will create that homelike feel you want. One exception to this idea is in pediatrics. Because children are the main focus in a pediatric facility, feel free to incorporate bold, bright colors that will excite young patients.
Add in Contemporary Décor
In a similar vein, the artwork, accessories and décor in your reception area should reflect the calming look you’re going for in your office furniture color scheme. Add faux plants to unused corners to tie in Mother Nature’s touch, and use naturescapes in your wall art for a serene appearance.
Light the Way
Lighting should reflect the needs of your specific facility. Soft, bright light creates a sense of calm, while low, warm light can make a space look homier. While natural light is always best, it’s not always a viable option. Just try to stay away from fluorescent lighting which can come off as harsh on the eyes, making guests feel fatigued.
Incorporate Technology and Active Waiting
Nobody really enjoys sitting in a waiting room, but you can make the experience a more positive one by offering reading materials, free wifi and a play area for children in your doctor’s office waiting room. Providing these small pleasures will give your guests and patients something to keep themselves busy with while they wait, which can certainly help take their minds off of their impending appointment and make them feel more comfortable with their surroundings.
What makes you feel comfortable in a doctor’s office waiting room?