Medical Construction & Design

MAY-JUN 2018

Medical Construction & Design (MCD) is the industry's leading source for news and information and reaches all disciplines involved in the healthcare construction and design process.

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MCDM AG.COM | M AY/ J U N E 2018 | Medical Construction & Design 41 greeted by a space featuring the usual signifi ers of healthcare facilities: walls largely unadorned and neutral-colored; chairs upholstered in a vinyl-like material and arranged in a rigid, rectangular layout around a coff ee table and an environment that spoke to institutional standardization. "The waiting area is often an over- looked aspect of a healthcare facility," said Michael R. Crawford, chief of staff of Unity Health Care. "But it possesses enormous potential to enhance patient education, engagement and satisfaction." As step one in helping the space reach that potential, a review of existing litera- ture on waiting room design uncovered gaps and opportunities. Factors such as seating choice and arrangement, artwork, amenities, cultural relevance, lines of sight and wayfi nding arose as elements ripe for exploration. What fl owed from those discoveries was the fundamental research question: Can a waiting area designed with intention and community engagement — with participation from patients, family, staff and providers — improve the patient experience and increase patient satisfac- tion? That basic question led to formulat- ing a range of hypotheses that touched on everything from how furniture arrange- ment impacts communication to how art inspired by the community aff ects how staff and patients feel about the space. From top: Inspirational messaging installed as part of a quilt wall provides an added layer of humanity, warmth and soul at Unity Health Care's Brentwood Health Center in the Washington, D.C. area. > Designing conversational seating arrangements interspersed with community tables and small seating clusters to support families or groups simultaneously encourages communication.

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