Designing Waiting Rooms For Hospitals & Clinics

The waiting room is one of the first places which patients see and have to wait for a period until they meet the doctor. The waiting room does leave a lasting impression about the clinic and the doctor. A traditional waiting room has rows of chairs with old magazines and a muted television in the background. The seating arrangement should preferably not be compact, but should allow comfortable seating. A movable seating arrangement is more comfortable than fixed chairs. The color and material of furniture should be in-line with the healthcare practice. Plenty of natural light and plush chairs with attractive colors and patterns indicate modernity. Aesthetic appearance and good ambiance makes the patient feel comfortable to sit for a long time. Here we guide you to design the most welcoming waiting room of the hospital.

Reception: As soon as a person enters the clinic, the first thing he should see is an elegantly placed reception table. A receptionist should immediately attend the patient and guide him or her to the waiting area.

Waiting Room Chairs: Modular seating arrangements are trending these days, where padded chairs are provided which gives individuals a personal space. Individual chairs can also be best option as it gives personal space and privacy to fill all the details as requested by the hospital requirement.

The chairs or seating arrangement should be facing reception which gives a feeling of constant reminder to the staff. Also, consider a special seating arrangement for people with special needs. People with disabilities find it difficult to get up from low-level seats, so high-level seats should be considered. Also, include wheelchairs in the furniture list for easy movement of the disabled and elderly.

Lastly, the upholstery used should be easy to clean and maintain. It should be able to withstand cleaning with disinfectants. The color of upholstery should match with the walls and the carpets. As there will be regular traffic in the hospital, the chairs should be durable. Try to buy good quality durable chairs which turn cost-effective in the long run.

After selecting chairs, the most important question is how many chairs are required. This can be defined by an average number of patients the doctor sees in an hour multiplied by 1.5 as the patient most of the time comes with an attendee that is the minimum number of chairs required.

Light: Soft, incandescent lights are appealing to the eyes and give a comfortable look. Fluorescent lights are painful to the eyes, in case Fluorescent lights are being used, try to reduce the glare. You can use natural light or overhead lights

Flooring: Carpeting is a good option although it is difficult to maintain. Carpets help in noise control and reduce falls due to friction. Dark color carpets help in hiding away the dirt spots. The carpet can be cleaned once in three weeks. At the entrance, start with the mats which remove excess dirt and relatively cleaner shoes on the carpet.

Walls: The walls of the waiting room should be painted with decent colors which separate waiting room from others. Mostly Off white colors are soothing and relaxing. Off white colors allows you to have a wide range of color options for furniture and furnishings.   

Charging Station(s): As per a study, 1in 5 patients do research about the disease while waiting in the clinic. These days’ electronics are an integral part which keeps them engaged. Provide provision of charging, people may simply browse or do office work. This helps in reducing the work stress who have missed their office and help them in maintaining their productivity.

Indicate Wait Time: It is common to find doctors running late as per the schedule. Patients would be happy to know the expected waiting time so that they can utilize the time efficiently. There should be some provision for magazine stand at a prominent place which catches the eye of all the visitors. Optionally you can place the magazines on side-tables in sets. Place some photo frames on the walls indicating achievements and awards.

Luxury Items: Add elements which can be used while the patient waits for the doctor. Maybe a small play area for the children in a gynecologist clinic, by the time women sees a doctor, the child can have a good time. Massage chairs in a general physician clinic give a relaxing time. Few clinics also offer complimentary coffee and beverages to the patients.

A television in the waiting room can play a brief documentary about the specialty of the doctor (causes of the disease, its symptoms, preventive measures, healthy habits and so on). You can also put an advertisement about the wellness center which a patient is most likely to visit (e.g.: diagnostic center, physiotherapy center, Nutritionist, etc). Of course, the waiting room is not only the criteria for the patients to visit the clinic. A comfortable waiting room with natural elements gives a feeling of wellness and makes patient regular visitors. An interior design provides returns on investment.

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