As the owner of a busy practice it can sometimes be easy to forget about certain areas of your clinic when these spots are not places you directly work in yourself every day.
When it comes to refurbishing your existing clinic or building a new practice your clinic waiting room and reception are just as important as the areas in which consulting and treatments take place.
A good place to start when designing these areas is by asking your staff what it is that would make their job easier.
Layout and accessibility can play a huge role in the productivity of staff and something as simple as having a space for the reception printer within arms reach instead of in a spot where you have to get up and walk across the room could make all the difference.
There are an abundance of options when it comes to designing the perfect clinic waiting room. From colour selection that will give your clinic the right feel to furniture that will suit your patients best there are certain things that should always be taken into consideration:
Clear Signage – There is nothing worse than walking into a busy clinic and not knowing where to go. Make sure you have clear signage displayed showing the way to the reception area, clinic waiting room and any amenities you may have available. This signage can then continue throughout your clinic with way finders giving patients the ease of finding the correct room quickly and without any confusion.
DDA Accessibility – It is imperative (and a requirement) that your clinic is DDA compliant. Ensure you have made considerations for the disabled throughout your clinic in the way of disabled and/or ambulant amenities where required and the correct layouts within consulting rooms, treatment rooms and your clinic waiting room. It is extremely important that you cover all the DDA requirements in order to comply and this is why it is best to speak with a medical fit out specialist when designing your new clinic
Comfort – It is important to make sure you are making any patients that may have lengthy waits ahead of them as comfortable as possible. One simple thing that can make a big difference is the availability of phone or laptop charging stations within your clinic waiting room, this way if they need to do any work or just want to use their phone while waiting they can.
Another easy way to create a comfortable environment is with the installation of a refresh station. This small area consists of a filtered water tap, bin and cup dispenser that can be mounted on the wall so these sets ups don’t take up much room at all.
Seating – Seating is more important than you think. It is important that you are taking into consideration all different body shapes and peoples age when specifying chairs for your clinic waiting room.
There are an abundance of beautiful waiting chairs on the market but do they suit your patient’s needs? By alternating your comfortable padded chairs between having arms and no arms you are ensuring everyone will be comfortable and the elderly or people who need some extra help have an option of arms when they need some additional leverage on standing up.
The leg system you choose, depending on what kind of medical facility you are running, can also be extremely important. In a setting where patients are more likely to get upset you are better off selecting a chair with a sled base other than a 4-leg style as these can unfortunately become a danger if picked up and used in the wrong way.
Now, it isn’t only the patients you need to think about when selecting seating. Your staff members will also need comfortable ergonomic chairs in order to make them as comfortable as possible while they work in a position that is mostly seated for the duration of their day.
Hygiene – With COVID-19 at the front of our minds this year we are all on high alert when it comes to hygiene. In order to keep your staff and patients as safe as you can in such an uncertain time it is extremely important that you provide the right tools in order to keep your practice as Covid safe as possible.
Of course the required supply of hand soap and sanitiser needs to come into play but the supply of masks for patients could also be a good gesture.
When it comes to keeping the staff on your reception safe the temporary installation of a sneeze guard can make a big difference, these are easily installed and can be removed just as easily when they are no longer required. Right now it is about putting minds at ease and helping people feel comfortable within a medical environment.
Of course these are only a few ideas and it really does pay to sit down with a healthcare professional in order to guide you through the regulations.