Renovation is difficult. It causes a ripple of disruption through all levels of staff and carries through to patient and their loved ones. From housekeeping and maintenance staff, all the way through the change in traffic patterns that need to be communicated to everyone, nothing and no one is left untouched. Then, when you think you have taken care of everyone, you will find that you have missed one critical group that you never considered, that you were never told about, or who just happened to “appear”. The idea of a renovation is critical not only in the timing of when you present the idea but with what attitude and at which levels. This can include keeping in mind everyone from the fire marshals, risk management and internal operations teams, visitors, and volunteers.

Volunteers are crucial in managing the message. They can identify potential issues with wayfinding and signage to assist in rerouting and can assist visitors and couriers in traversing these rerouted locations with little stress and disruption.

Key steps to managing the message:

Determine how you want to deliver the message

  • Apologetic: We’re sorry about the inconvenience, we are upgrading A, B, and C to better service for you. Thank you for your patience.
  • Change is good: We are improving to serve you better, please follow the signs to A, B, and C during this transition. (Typically you can even create interesting and fun graphics for this that makes the disruption more comfortable than simply placing a piece of paper and tape over the prerenovation sign.)
  • Ignore the renovation: Detour signs with no explanations

Determine who can deliver the message to whom:

  • Life Safety: Mission to keep officials clearly informed at all times of any changes in the plan
  • Internally: Mission to clearly inform all parties to reduce stress and errors
  • General Communications: Make sure to cover all your bases, including informing couriers and other delivery personnel
  • Externally: Mission to reduce stress on the patients and visitors
  • Patients: How staff communicates with visitors (telling them where to go)

Specific communication for visitors:

  • Signage to and from locations
  • Constraints that the renovation is placing on the facility and its services
  • Communication when critical items are happening and you need visitor cooperation
  • Transition teams during any big moves