In addition, informal lounges and/or café areas within lobbies and hallways can help make an entire healthcare facility more inviting, user-friendly, and convenient to visitors. Outdoor cafés and lobbies, in particular, provide visitors with a sanctuary to check their mobile phones and laptops, relax with a cup of coffee or a sandwich, and, overall, feel more at home.
These locations can be a welcome alternative to traditional seating areas that tend to inhibit interaction. In conjunction with patient room furniture collections and residential design influences, they exemplify a new, progressive model that is positively impacting the patient experience, visitor comfort, and staff productivity.
Personalized patient rooms
Taking design perhaps one step beyond residential warmth, healthcare facilities are increasingly attempting to personalize patient rooms—specifically for their individual inhabitants—as a means to further reduce patient anxiety and stress, while enhancing comfort and overall satisfaction. One way to accomplish this is through the use of pre-arrival patient surveys—inquiring into items such as a favorite magazine, favorite food, and/or favorite color—so patients then can walk into rooms customized just for them.
Many facilities are also leveraging patient communication boards, as well as more advanced digital signage, within patient rooms—personalizing the display with the patient’s name, the names of the doctors and nurses providing care, family photos, the latest news and weather forecasts, and more.
Thus, patients who walk into a hospital room—greeted by a customized message, their favorite magazine on the bedside table, and their favorite flowers on the windowsill—will immediately have a higher sense of comfort about their visit and, most importantly, about the care they will be receiving. Personalizing the patient experience in this way not only reinforces a patient-centered care model, but it also can turn an overwhelming clinical environment into a relaxing one—neutralizing the negative effects of stress and anxiety.
As healthcare facilities strive to increase levels of patient care and satisfaction, they also must accommodate the needs of patients’ families and visitors, as well as nurses, doctors, and other caregivers. In the face of ever-shrinking facility footprints, this can be a daunting task. Space is at a premium, and as facilities incorporate decentralized nursing stations and try to fit more storage and supply areas within units, it can become challenging to also utilize space to create comforting, personalized patient environments.
As a result, the scale and flexibility of patient room furniture is a vital factor in overcoming space constraints and their resulting limitations on hospital room design. There is now a variety of new, multipurpose furniture offerings for healthcare facilities to choose from, including sleeper sofas that incorporate solid-surface side tables with built-in data and electrical access, and with underneath storage compartments for linens and pillows.
The use of hybrid products, such as patient chairs that also serve as recliners, helps maximize space. These multipurpose and hybrid offerings are an effective way to increase patient room functionality using smaller-scale furniture—ultimately resulting in more spacious, aesthetic, and productive environments for patients, visitors, and caregivers.