Patients should be made to feel as comfortable as possible from the moment they arrive at a medical clinic.
Right from car park to reception counter, the design focus should be on minimising stress and anxieties.
Here’s some points to consider for minimising stress right from when patients arrive:

The Car Park:
How can it be planned or improved to avoid any confusion?
It goes without saying that the layout and dimension of car parking spaces and access aisles must comply with planning regulations, but there are still issues to look at:
Visibility: Is the car park highly visible from the street?
General Signage: Is it well positioned at street frontage or on the building?
As a rule of thumb, the size and type of location signage should clearly identify the medical clinic premises without detracting from the surroundings.
Accessibility: Is the car parking access two or one-way? Markings and signage should convey directions very clearly.
Usually a low height, directional sign is required as well as ground surface markings.
There must be an ambulance bay and disability carparks. All must comply with regulations and be well marked.

Is landscaping a considered part of the medical clinic premises?
A landscape buffer surrounding the car park is usually needed to minimise any impact on surrounding properties. Use this buffer as a great opportunity to soften the building and car park and also to integrate the entire premises into the streetscape.
Combine landscaping with signage where possible.
Include some feature outdoor lighting to highlight the signage and landscaping elements.
A well planted and maintained garden can be a very positive feature of the medical clinic premises.

The Entry:
How can it be improved for patients?
Is the entry door wide enough or should it be automated to handle traffic in and out?
An entry door which is too narrow or difficult to open causes stress for patients from the very start. Ensure that the entry is easy for patients and carers with wheelchairs, walking frames and prams to operate.
Once inside, how easy is it to find the way from the entry door to the reception counter?
Often reception counters have multiple terminals to approach – for check in, payments and so on, so what visual indicators are there to remove any confusion about where to head?
How much natural light can be utilised in the entry to create an open, welcoming environment?
Is there comfortable seating nearby for those who can’t stand at reception?
Is there a walking frame/wheelchair/pram parking bay in the waiting area for patients?

Planning for at least some, if not all of these elements, can help minimise patients' and carers' stress and prepare them for a meaningful consultation.

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