Last week we discussed the importance of the waiting room in a healthcare environment, and why this area is increasingly climbing its way up the hierarchy ladder of the designer’s main focus. However, since we now know why designers are putting the spotlight on this room, we will divulge more into the waiting area design solutions.

Goodbye rows

Gone are the days of numerous rows of chairs, one after another in the large stark room. Healthcare organisations are now changing their viewpoint with the help of designers to become more patient and family-friendly. How are they doing this? Simply by adding amenities, educational opportunities and flexible layouts with a variety of seating arrangements.

Family-friendly designs

Another advancement from removing the rows of chairs is that the waiting area should now be able to accommodate to parents who want to hold and soothe their child. Incorporating a lounge area, a private area which is still in view from reception and wider seats and armrests, will also avoid clutter as parents will have somewhere to put strollers and other child amenities which are typically carried with them.

It’s no longer just “waiting

In modern healthcare facilities, the implementation of different areas and activity zones are becoming increasingly prominent. This goes beyond a television playing day-time dramas and talk-shows, it is the inclusions of books, safe play areas, a fireplace or aquariums to make the wait feel less like a wait.

Retail therapy

How else can you make waiting feel less like waiting? The progressive incorporation of a retail aspect in waiting rooms can offer patients the opportunity to browse and purchase items as they wait for their name to be called. Bringing the “chemist” retail aspect into the practice is a progressive way of not only giving you the chance to sell your products and increase revenue but also to provide a form of “entertainment.”

Ergonomic seating arrangements

Depending on the type of healthcare facility, it is also essential to consider the comfort of post-operative patients as they may not be able to sit in “normal” seating arrangements. Incorporating ergonomic chairs in the waiting area for these patients are critical for their positive client experience throughout your facility.

The tech-patient

It is not new knowledge that most patients who are waiting are generally on a device, whether it be a smartphone, iPad or even a laptop. Therefore, modern waiting area designs are integrating the use of outlet plugs near or in the seating for easy access to power.

These are just a few points, however inclusive of these six points, there are the basic design aspects to keep in mind, such as the colour palette choice and materials used. Thanks to technological advancements, healthcare reform changes and the drive to be patient and client orientated, the waiting experience in healthcare environments are evolving and may look very different in just five years time.