Your waiting room is an essential part of your hospital building. It’s also central to the hospital experience for many of your patients and visitors.
Because of this, it pays to get it right. Which means you need to give your waiting room seating some thought.
The seating you select for your waiting room will have a direct impact on your patients’ and visitors’ physical comfort. But it can also affect their experience in other ways.
For example, seating that allows plenty of room for movement can help to improve the flow of people through your space. Arranging your seating to offer a level of physical separation and grouping can make the space more comfortable for families and individuals alike, as can providing small spaces for placing personal items such as handbags, toys, and mobile phones. And providing a variety of seating options will also make your waiting room more comfortable for more people.
As these examples demonstrate, seating can make or break your waiting room experience. Your next hospital refurbishment provides a great opportunity to get your seating “just right”. So below, we’ve listed a few things to look for when making your seating choices.
Seat softness paired with support for the spine are both key to comfortable seating, so look for this when you’re selecting seating for your waiting room. You’ll also want strong chair arms to assist people (especially older patients and visitors) to get out of your seats.
In a hospital setting, it makes sense that the seating materials you choose should be antimicrobial and easy to clean. Ideally, look for fabric that can be cleaned with a bleach-based cleaner.
If you want to add more varied and functional furniture to your waiting room to cater to a greater variety of needs, tables and desks are a logical place to start. Families will appreciate having a place for their kids to sit while they read a book, draw pictures, or play with a tablet, while professionals will appreciate a place to work with their laptop.
Speaking of families, where practical, consider arranging your seating in small, gently delineated groups rather than simple rows. This helps to create greater intimacy and privacy, and can also assist parents in more easily setting physical boundaries for little children.
A final consideration for your seating is colour and patterns. Selecting a cheerful or soothing colour help to make your waiting room feel more inviting and less intimidating.
Light greens and blues are recognised as soothing shades, but you can also choose something with a little more “pop” – including palettes that match your branding colours.