Catering for children as patients in a medical fitout requires some specific planning.
Using a few simple ideas can ensure that the practice uplifts and supports young families in what can sometimes be stressful times.
Here are 6 design ideas to consider.
1. The Overall Concept:
As a general concept, focus on creating an open, modern design to the practice using an array of colors, textures, and depths whilst keeping it warm and welcoming.
The fitout needs to invite people in and once there, make them feel at home.
2. Having Separate Waiting Areas:
A separate waiting area for children as patients can be of great benefit to everyone.
Ensure that this area flows on from a central reception, with easy-to-negotiate paths to the consulting or treatment rooms. This simplifies the young patient’s experience and becomes a near-intuitive progression for everyone.
3. Creating an Atmosphere:
Include colorful and bright graphic images to greet children and families as they enter, creating a playful and calming atmosphere. If possible, an exterior garden or greenery adds to a sense of normality. Consider ceilings and floors as a canvas for colour, shapes and texture – not just the walls.
4. The Treatment Area:
If space allows, incorporate a separate treatment space for young patients. Make it more of a fun space than an adult facility with colours and sounds to distract and involve the child. Visual displays and music which promote a happy or calm environment, depending on what is required, are highly useful here. Try to position any equipment which might look threatening behind screening whilst making it easily accessible to practitioners.
5. A Happy / Calming Area:
Again, if space allows, an interchangeable happy or calming room can be of great benefit. It needn’t be a large area and need not even have natural light. You can achieve an area like this by using a series of lighting combinations which can be separately switched, by using visual displays – even projecting images on to the ceiling or walls, and with music and sounds of nature to create particular moods. Comfortable soft furniture is a must.
6. Dealing with Noise:
Reducing sound transmission is essential, and in particular, where consulting rooms adjoin waiting areas. Make wise and wide use of acoustic materials in the fitout. That means within the walls, or at least, on the walls, and use solid door panels as well as sound reducing ceiling panels to absorb noise.
Let the overall design and build speak to patients that you care about, that you’ve thought of their needs and welcome them in.