“We’re creating spaces that resemble someone’s living room,” says Carey Miller, facilities designer and planner. “The goal is to provide a welcoming environment for patients, families and staff by reducing environmental stressors such as noise and harsh lighting, providing positive distractions like artwork and aquariums, and offering amenities such as wireless Internet connections.”
The new waiting rooms feature comfortable recliners, soft lighting, multiple electrical outlets, Wi-Fi service, coffee and snack bars, and more. Some have large windows overlooking plush gardens, while others feature large aquariums stocked with tropical fish.
“Research shows that people have a deep need to connect to nature, and that even a brief view of a garden or interaction with a water element, for example, can have immediate physiological benefits in terms of reducing stress and anxiety,” says Tim Peglow, associate vice president of Patient Care Facilities.
Before renovations are made, patient focus groups assemble to rate the proposed furniture and design mockups.
“The focus groups give us an idea of what being comfortable actually means to patients and their families,” says Miller. “The program’s overall goal is finding a way to make these renovations really meaningful.”