Is your healthcare fit-out ready for the world #beyondCOVID?
The pandemic has presented a challenge for all workplaces. GP practices, hospitals and healthcare settings have had to adapt quickly to provide a safe environment for patients and staff. But as restrictions start to ease, you will be thinking to the future #beyondCOVID.
The healthcare interior design team at Evoke Projects love a thought-provoking quote. And who better to quote in a time of need than Winston Churchill?
“Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
So what good can come out of this crisis?
New healthcare workplace solutions
Telehealth is providing a wonderful opportunity for clinicians and patients to connect in a convenient, safe and timely way. It will continue to provide flexible patient care while not replacing the face-to-face appointments that many patients need.
Take a look at your current practice/hospital. How much space do you need today? How much space will you need next week or next month? With telehealth being new for many Australian medical professionals, you won’t be sure right now, but it might be possible to achieve a reduction in building, facilities and real estate expenses.
Whether you stay in your current facility or move to a new one, without doubt, a new healthcare fit-out or refurbishment will reassure patients that your healthcare setting has been updated for our new way of life. Evoke Projects has been creating space-saving and flexible healthcare interior designs and fit-outs for many years, and we offer advice below on preparing for #beyondCOVID.
Healthcare design that is safe and welcoming
Healthcare fit-outs have changed a great deal over the last few years, recognising that a sterile environment does not need to be a cold and dispiriting place. This remains the case as we adapt to a new normal. GP practices and hospitals can definitely provide both a safe and welcoming environment.
Healthcare fit-out tips
- Design your healthcare practice to reflect the modern patient care model which tends to be team based. Give doctors and ancillary health professionals the collaboration tools they need to work together remotely.
- Encourage staff to take some time out by providing breakout spaces within the healthcare design and fit-out. In the busy world of healthcare, staff are used to being on their feet and available at all times. They will need management encouragement towards a cultural change that recognises carers need some downtime to function at their best.
- Although doctors have traditionally had a dedicated room, this is a wasted real estate cost if they are not working full time in the practice. ‘Hoteling’ can work well for doctors where they reserve a room for the days and times they have patient appointments. Thorough cleaning will already be a feature of healthcare practices, so this should still work in the #beyondCOVID world.
- Healthcare design and fit-outs can support well-being by conforming to WELL Building StandardTM guidelines. The WELL Standard is based around ten concepts: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community. Please visit their website for more information or talk to the team at Evoke Projects.
- If you’re not ready for a new fit-out, a lick of paint is a simple healthcare refurbishment that can transform rooms. In patient areas, choose wall colours that are soothing, such as muted orange or pale pink. Pale blue and blue-green are natural calming colours but can feel cold so add splashes of colour with artwork and furniture. Greens and woody browns are also tranquil colours that invoke nature. Paediatric waiting rooms and treatment centres might prefer to brighten their environments with vibrant colours to appeal to children.
- The healthcare design trend has been towards creating a “homelier” environment to reduce stress and provide a better patient experience. Communal toys and magazines may not fit with our #beyondCOVID normal, but there are still ways to improve the patient and staff experience. Add touches of homeliness with decorative pieces, art, modern window blinds and residential style light-shades. Fabric wall panels can be used in non-sterile areas to soften the environment.
- Privacy and confidentiality are obviously important factors in healthcare interior design, but the hard surfaces typically used for easy cleaning reflect sound. To counteract this, acoustic partitions and sound absorbing ceiling panels can help keep private matters private.
- Plants evoke a natural feeling of well-being and provide cleaner air and an acoustic benefit through sound absorption and deflection.
Healthcare workplace design is important for employee experience
As well as treating patients, healthcare practices are a workplace for medical professionals and support staff. Ironically, despite the presumed focus on health, staff burnout is an issue in the healthcare sector. Long hours, shift work and stress take their toll. This has been exacerbated during the current crisis.
‘Employee experience’ has been much talked about over the last few years. The way we attract and retain talent has broadened far beyond salary and career progression. Employee experience will be even more important #beyondCOVID as the best talent gravitates to employers with sustainable workplaces that not only allow them to be safe, but also feel safe.
People-centric healthcare design and fit-outs that support well-being will help attract and retain good staff. This is particularly the case in regional areas where staff shortages are common. If staff are healthy and motivated, the quality of patient care will improve. Reduced absenteeism also leads to a more productive and efficient medical practice.
Employers will need to have hand sanitisers readily available along with social distancing guidelines and signage, to ensure people feel safe until a vaccine becomes available. Mental health and well-being support will also be invaluable as employees adapt to life #beyondCOVID.
Talk to the healthcare interior design team at Evoke Projects today, passionate experts who can help you maximise your space efficiency to reduce your real estate costs and give your healthcare setting the tools to #thrivein2020, both in the practice and remotely. Please call 1300 720 692 for more information.