Have you sat in your waiting room for more than five minutes recently? Many medical facility managers believe that what was once adequate for their clients years ago will still be suitable today. However, if you want to be more than “adequate,” and would like to create a warm, welcome atmosphere for your patients, then it may be time to revamp your waiting room area. The tone that your waiting room sets for your clients is likely to set the tone for the rest of their visit. As with many things in life, making a good first impression is vital for the success of your clinic.
Create a Relaxing Atmosphere
Whether you run a dentist’s office or any other medical facility, chances are that your clients are not all that excited about their visit. Most people feel a little on edge when going to a medical facility, even if they are only coming in for a routine exam or routine dental cleaning. A cold, clinical waiting room with plastic chairs and elevator music, for example, will only add to their discomfort. On the other hand, classical music or other types of relaxing music (music made for spas is a great choice), along with comfortable furnishings will put your patients at ease from the moment they step into your waiting room. Extra features such as water wall signs that include your brand name as a backdrop for flowing water will also work to calm the body and mind.
Comfortable and Practical
While you should stay away from cold, clinical design elements, you also don’t want to overdo it. In other words, it’s important to maintain a professional atmosphere so that your patients feel confident in your services. You can maintain this professional environment while also adding comfortable furnishings. Make sure that the checkout area is easily accessible and that your patients do not have to walk through a maze to get to it. Your waiting room staff should be in view when your patients step into the waiting room so that they are welcomed right away.
Of course, seating is an absolute must in a waiting room. Steer away from too many couches in medical waiting rooms. Most patients will appreciate a little distance, even if it’s only the small barrier that sofa chairs provide. Sofa chairs are also ideal because they provide sturdy arms for elderly or disabled patients to get up or down. Depending on the size of your waiting room, one or two couches will work well for families with young children.
If possible, light the room with as much natural light from windows as possible. If the windows in your facility face out to a parking lot or other less-than-pleasant view, consider planting a tree near the window to add a bit of nature. If your waiting room does not have windows, purchase full spectrum lights to add a pleasant and more natural light to the space. Be sure to plug socket protectors into any unused plugs to protect young children.
A growing number of medical clinics are removing televisions from their waiting rooms. If patients are already on edge, the last thing they want is to listen to constant chatter or disturbing news stories. Relaxing music, logo fountains, a large fish aquarium, and other calming diversions will set your patients minds and bodies at ease.
The “brand” of your facility begins in the waiting room. By putting extra effort in this area of your facility, you will demonstrate that you strive for exemplary patient services from the moment your patients walk in the door.
Polly Godwin is the owner of FountainSigns.com, a company specializing in logo fountains and design. Learn how you can replace your boring business design with a fountain sign!