Clinic By Design

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Design for the Mind

The construction of your Psychology practice is a lot more in depth than just creating a nice waiting area and comfortable consulting rooms for your patients.

In sensitive medical environments, such as psychology clinics, certain things need to be taken into consideration in order to make sure each and every patient has the most positive experience possible.

Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a big difference.

Take parking for example. Parking can be stressful for some people especially if your clinic is situated in a location that is known for lack of it.

Although we realise it isn’t always possible to have ample private parking on site there are other alternatives. Choosing your location carefully to try and incorporate public parking that can be utilised by your patients and/or the ability to walk easily to and from public transport can make a big difference.

Now that your patient has arrived, you need to ensure they get a warm welcome.

The welcome someone gets when they enter your psychology clinic is very important and it is imperative your patients know exactly where they need to go from the moment they walk in the front door.

Where possible within the design of your psychology practice construction you should locate your reception desk as close to the entry as you can so there is a direct go to point for any new patients. If this is not possible and patients need to navigate corridors in order to find your consulting suites clear signage is a must.

Once patients have been registered and are waiting for their appointment to commence they will want to be within a comfortable, inviting and safe space. There are a few easy ways to achieve this.

Something as simple as colourful artwork and tranquil music can be a welcome distraction for patients who may be feeling anxious or stressed while they wait, as can access to reading material based around your services. By providing patients, especially new ones, with brochures on what you do it can put some minds at ease as you are giving them almost a heads up of what to expect in their initial appointment.

When it comes to comfort, safety (not only for your patients but also for you and your staff) is crucial. In the instance a patient may become frustrated or aggressive you need to make sure everyone around them is as safe as possible.

Not only is this important in the waiting area but also in any consulting suites.

The right furniture is key and it is advisable that when it comes to things like coffee tables, the heavier the better in order to prevent anyone picking them up.

This also goes for seating. On the one hand you don’t want your patients chair to be so heavy they can’t move it around themselves in order to get comfortable but you also don’t want to provide something that can be lifted and potentially thrown easily.

Selecting seating with a sled base instead of legs is the first thing that you should consider when choosing seating for both waiting areas and consultation rooms and in some instances even the type of upholstery used may need to be altered to suit. Selecting soft furnishings are great for comfort but you also want to make sure they have been upholstered in a way that all seams are hidden and therefore patients do not have a chance to pick out any staples.

The above aspects can be carried on into your consulting rooms but there are a couple of additional things you may want to consider when locking in the floor pans of your psychology practice construction.

We always recommend the use of a duress system for any doctor who is going to be working alone with patients at any time.

There are a few different options when it comes to duress systems. Buttons can be installed at each desk for discreet activation or fobs/ pendants can be worn. This is simply piece of mind for staff members should a patient become aggressive during their appointment.

We believe it is especially important in an environment that uses ample acoustics. Just as we want patients to feel assured their conversations aren’t being heard by anyone outside we also want staff to feel safe in their own consultation room and that help will be available quickly should they ever need it.

The last thing we like to ensure is a part of any psychology practice construction is the installation of adjustable lighting. Some patients may like a light bright room, something that can also be achieved with natural light utilising windows (or skylights where windows are not available), whereas some may like the lights to be dimmed in order to create a peaceful atmosphere during their appointment.

As you can see these simple things can easily be included into your psychology practice construction, and by including them you are showing not only patients, but your staff that you are willing to take the extra step in order to give them the most positive experience possible.

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