Long gone are the days of whitewashed walls and cold tiled floors – surgery waiting rooms are taking a deliberate step away from the antiseptic-scented, fluorescently-lit clinical space to embrace a warm and welcoming environment. By creating a waiting room that is less ‘sterile-office’ and more reflective of a hotel room or home, you can help make your patients feel at ease in your clinic. Here are five top trends to consider when designing a waiting room:
- Create a welcoming impression with simple offerings. The waiting room coffee table is hardly a new implementation, however, it is the way that you dress it that can indicate a modernised, friendly touch. Artfully scatter magazines, pop a vase of fresh flowers in the centre, or add a bowl of fruit as a kind of ‘we-come-in-peace’ offering. It may sound ridiculous, but it will help trick your patients’ minds into believing they are settling in to their best friend’s lounge room.
- Get in touch with nature. Domestic-scale plants have become widely popular for clinics as the splash of greenery acts as a calming décor feature while certain plants can purify the air in enclosed environments. Research has found that peace lilies, gerbera daisies, English ivy, rubber plant, sword or Boston fern, spider plant, and the weeping fig are ideal plants for promoting clean air and healthy living.
- Consider the purpose of your artwork. Many clinics tend to dress their waiting rooms with artwork without fully addressing the functionality of the piece. Adding art to the entry or at the end of a hallway can create a soothing statement, while adding a feature that integrates the clinic’s name helps carve a professional look. Furthermore, why not consider installing etched glass panels in sections of your waiting room to create visual privacy while adding an artistic touch.
- Provide appropriate entertainment. Wall-mounted televisions have been popping up at waiting rooms in all kinds of healthcare practices, but it is important to consider just what kind of effect this is having on patients. While a television can provide a healthy distraction for patients, research has found that when unable to control the volume or programming, some patients begin to experience stress. We recommend offering a television with closed captioning or alternatively, try playing relaxing music that incorporates slow and stable tempos and gentle timbre to help promote the release of endorphins and immunoglobulins.
- Situate the reception desk at eye-level. By elevating your reception desk to sit atop a small platform, you can ensure your patients will be met at eye-level when they enter the clinic and check-in at the desk. This helps create a relationship of respect and equality between the receptionist and the patient.