When designing a space within the healthcare industry – be it a doctor’s surgery, hospital, or clinic – serious consideration needs to be taken for each and every element. There are much more stringent requirements for healthcare facilities, and you need to ensure your design is safe and compliant.
Those visiting healthcare facilities are often injured or unwell. Meaning it’s a prime space for infection to spread. Other patients and their relatives may have mobility issues or receive stressful and emotional news. In order to create the perfect environment for all patients, the space needs to be hygienic and easy to maneuver around with an area to relax.
As for staff, staff need to be able to move beds from one ward to another or navigate the corridors with a patient in a wheelchair.
Of course, for some healthcare facilities, you also don’t want the space to feel too clinical. Long term patients or residents will want something that feels a little more like home with color and ambient lighting.
And all of that is just the tip of the iceberg.
If you are responsible for designing a user-friendly, hygienic, and welcoming healthcare space, here are a few things that should be your top priority.
To help those who struggle with mobility, you’ll need to ensure there are handrails across all access points and surfaces. Handrails should be placed at around 1m from the floor level with a secondary rail for children lower down where needed.
You should make handrails easy to see – perhaps in a contrasting color to the walls – to ensure that those that need it know exactly where it is, even if they are visually impaired.
In busy facilities, there may be long periods where the corridors are not cleaned. This is because the wards and clinical spaces will take priority. Therefore, it is a good idea to use an anti-bacterial material or resistant paint on the handrails to keep them hygienic between use and cleans.
Crash rails and wall guards
The corridors are hugely busy spaces that are prone to wear and tear. As equipment will be passing through the halls from room to room, it is recommended that walls are protected with crash rails and guards.
Crash rails can prevent the walls being damaged from trolleys, beds, and wheelchairs bumping into them. Rails can also be added to waiting rooms where chairs constantly move or bump across the walls.
You should also protect walls from scuffs and bumps when people are moving around corners. Corner guards for walls are a useful option for healthcare facilities where there is a lot of foot traffic and equipment being moved.
Corner guards can be in a contrasting color to the walls to stop visually impaired patients from bumping into the corners accidentally.
Paints and art
To break up the typical clinical white, it is nice to incorporate a little color and art into healthcare design. There are plenty of bacteria-resistant paints available specifically for the healthcare industry, which can be used to paint doors, walls, or even the floors. Alternatively, using large-scale artwork across the walls in waiting rooms and communal areas can add a refreshing and more relaxed feel to the space.
With these three main elements in place, you can create a welcoming yet practical space.