A patient’s first impression has never been more important
During the last two years, many healthcare design decisions were driven by COVID safety. In most cases, there wasn’t time to assess longevity and aesthetics. Patients have higher expectations today and want to attend a practice that is both safe and looks good. Healthcare fit-out company Evoke Projects guides you through the process of ensuring that you tick both boxes.
Take a good look at me now!
Start by walking into your practice as though you are a new patient. Look at the practice design and fit-out space critically. What is your first impression of the reception area? Take a seat and wait. How are you feeling about spending time in this space? Does it calm you while you wait for your appointment? Do you feel welcome and safe?
Make the same critical assessment through the eyes of a returning patient. Are you looking at the same ‘temporary’ hygiene and social distancing measures that you remember from 2020? Do you feel confident that the practice has invested in your health and well-being?
Freshen up your healthcare practice
In the short term, a simple practice refurbishment can freshen up your healthcare practice design and fit-out appeal.
The safety screens at reception are often the first thing that a patient notices. Clean your plexiglass barriers with the right products. Strong detergent and window cleaners may streak and even scratch acrylic surfaces. You can buy special plexiglass cleaners, but mild detergent and a soft cloth should do the job. Vaseline or car wax may help with light scratches.
Say hello to Mother Nature
Add natural elements around the healthcare fit-out to contribute towards biophilic healthcare design, which has been shown to reduce pain and anxiety in patients. New plants and art with nature scenes will help people feel close to nature. Given that patients often lie down, consider placing artwork on the ceiling.
Modernise your healthcare design and fit-out
This far into the pandemic, patients are starting to expect more permanent solutions to COVID safety. They expect a modern practice design and waiting area seating that is functional and safe (not just laminated ‘Do not sit here’ signs!). If your last healthcare fit-out was pre-pandemic, now is the time for an update!
The best first impression is a healthcare interior design with a homely feel. If upholstered seats were replaced with easier to clean firm chairs, now is the time to bring back comfort, with anti-bacterial vinyl, fabric or lacquer to maintain safety. Social distancing is still important, but families and couples like to sit together so be sure to have different seating configurations in the waiting area.
Fresh paint and flooring
Nothing says ‘new’ faster than fresh paint throughout the healthcare fit-out. Green, blue and brown are close to nature for that biophilic touch. Different hues and tones can be used depending on the mood you want to set and the type of patients that you typically see.Modern flooring makes a wonderful first impression in the reception area. Vinyl sheet and vinyl planks are easy to clean with many stylish options including timber-look vinyl planks.
Rotating treatment rooms for visible clean
When designing your new healthcare fit-out, make plans for rotating treatment rooms so that patients can see that every room is cleaned thoroughly after use. This will require practitioners to change rooms for each appointment, rather than having one dedicated space. If this is not possible, communicate the cleaning protocols to patients; it’s even better if they see their chair and equipment being cleaned.If your practice may treat COVID positive patients, isolation rooms with appropriate ventilation / negative pressure rooms will be essential within the healthcare design.
In addition to the short-term biophilic elements mentioned above, a healthcare fit-out will give you the opportunity to make more permanent and worthwhile changes. For example, skylights, floor to ceiling windows, green walls and water features.
Look after staff
Caring professionals need their own care. Create a breakout space during your next healthcare fit-out where staff can rest and recharge. Add biophilic design elements to their space, and ideally situate it close to a window with a view of nature. As well as a dedicated space, if you have any wasted nooks, add a comfortable chair and phone charging station for staff to just ‘take a minute’.
Please call the healthcare design and fit-out experts at Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692 for more information.