Looking to the Future of Healthcare Design
Healthcare design is a critical part of the healthcare sector. Patient care facilities have numerous demands for design in the interest of safety that simply do not apply to other commercial projects, but often times comfort and convenience are overlooked as a result. Typical designs tend to look a little ‘sterile’. Imagine if you will cookie-cutter waiting rooms with rows full of uncomfortable chairs. Basic. Bland. You get the picture. Healthcare providers and workers are the pillars of our community. Serving as safe havens for those afflicted with COVID-19 and other ailments, people are visiting doctor’s offices, urgent care centers and hospitals every day, and it is clear just how essential they are. Patients and employees both deserve a more welcoming, comfortable space to promote physical and mental wellness. Here are a few things you can expect for the future of healthcare design:
Safety First: Style and comfort are important to any design, but those two elements tend to understandably take a back seat to health and safety concerns. That doesn’t mean you can’t still easily make some stylish upgrades to the design, but first let’s look at some areas of safety.
HOSPITAL GRADE RECEPTACLES – These outlets comply with the general use requirements for hospitals but are also held to higher performance standards than traditional outlets. The green dot on these hospital grade receptacles means they have greater assembly integrity, terminal strength, impact resistance, and increased durability. And with our extensive line of Hospital Grade Power Grommets you can make sure the space is equal parts chic and safe.
Trash Grommet Liners – Using a traditional trash lid like a swing door or swiveling lid violates the ‘no-touch’ rule for physicians when disposing of waste. Instead, use a trash grommet liner in trash drops to help prevent the spread of germs. They are easy to remove and clean! Available in multiple shapes, sizes and finishes, either in Stainless Steel for sterile environments or in plastic as an inexpensive alternative for disposable depositories for trash and other hazardous materials for temporary triage stations and pop-up medical treatment tents, etc. Trash Management Grommets fit seamlessly into the design and help to keep the area stylish and sterile, protecting the actual furniture from collecting bacteria.
Comfortable Common Areas for Visitors and Employees:
Comfortable seating design in waiting rooms and employee lounges is extremely important and should be at the forefront of the designer’s agenda given that it is where patients and their visitors/family members spend the majority of their time and where employees go for some stress relief. An inviting lobby or waiting area will help ease some of the stress of whatever ails you. Mental health is important while waiting to be seen and can be easily coaxed by simply providing a comfortable and soothing place to sit. Placebo is a very powerful tool. A nice, modern facility with attention to detail in design can put a patient at ease by reinforcing their impression of the facility and making them think they will be in good hands when they are seen.
Most hospital workers don’t have their own office - usually a cubby or makeshift work space carved out of some free space between patient rooms. Of course, they need to have easy access and be able to stay mobile with quick in and out visits to their computer desk. But they could easily benefit from some ergonomic hardware to make the space more functional and customizable. Adding electric legs to create custom height or standing height desks would help. Leave at standing height for pop ins, lower to seating height for longer stretches involving data entry or research. Add keyboard trays that can disappear under the work desk when not in use to clear up some space on the work surface. And monitor arms can give monitors great flexibility to tilt or rotate where it’s needed, especially when sharing the screen and verifying patient information.
ADD A VARIETY OF SEATING OPTIONS – When it comes to the waiting room, add more grouped seating options like loveseats and couches allowing families to sit together and chairs with higher backs and/or Acoustic Panel Screens to also give people the option of privacy if needed. This layout would work in employee lounges as well, turning rooms into multi-use spaces that can be used as workspace, private meeting space, lounge area, etc.
PROVIDE ACCESSIBLE ACCESS TO POWER – Adding plenty of USB outlets and outlets will help pass the time for families or those who need to conduct work outside of their office. Providing accessible charging options bring the convenience of home into the healthcare space and can make what may be a difficult time a little easier on families and individuals. Cell phone batteries can drain pretty quickly when playing games or watching videos. Keeping children pacified with electronics is one way to ease tensions, but you may need to power up. Powered furniture is also a must in the employee lounges as well given that most hospital workers don’t have their own office. So providing plenty of access to power will contribute to giving them the space they need to get everything done and charge up and relax during any down time.
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