Custom Wayfinding for Different Healthcare Environments
Healthcare facilities vary widely on numerous points: type of facility, size of facility and patient population served. While all healthcare facilities want to provide quality health care to their patients, practical steps in achieving their goals will differ across the board. For example, pediatric hospitals will diverge sharply from elder care facilities, not only in how they deliver health care services but also the means by which they make their facilities accessible and navigable by patients and visitors. When it comes to signage, custom wayfinding for different healthcare settings is essential.
Type of Healthcare Setting
Each type of health care setting requires a different wayfinding solution and signage solution. Whatever the type of healthcare setting, chances are that its purpose is reflected in its architectural design. Wayfinding for a given healthcare setting must take the shape of a custom layout which complements both the facility’s design and its purpose. A psychiatric hospital will be best served by a wayfinding solution that offers a gently therapeutic feel, both in its layout and how it is integrated with the architecture of the facility. A care facility for elderly people who have memory problems would need a wayfinding solution that is as intuitive as possible and helps serve the mental and emotional needs of patients.
Size of the Healthcare Facility
In developing a wayfinding solution, the size of the healthcare facility must also be taken into account. Large, complex hospital facilities might benefit from digital signage, whereas small hospitals would likely be better served by traditional signage. Digital signage can be a tremendous boon for large hospitals, not only by streamlining wayfinding for patients and visitors but also by facilitating communication among numerous healthcare staff. In smaller hospitals, architectural signage will do a great job of serving people’s wayfinding needs while enhancing the aesthetic aspects of the buildings’ design.
Typical Patient Populations
Custom wayfinding layouts need to be developed for varying health care settings in light of their typical patient populations. For example, a large community hospital differs in its patient population from a VA hospital, and wayfinding solutions, for optimal efficiency, should reflect those differences. Large community hospitals serve a more diverse group of people who have wide-ranging healthcare needs. VA hospitals provide care to veterans, and while veterans, too, vary as individuals, they often have specialized healthcare needs in common that may differ from those of community hospital patients. Oncology centers are yet another healthcare setting whose population will need wayfinding solutions that address their particular concerns.
When it comes to wayfinding for different health care settings, one solution can never fit all. Healthcare facilities are simply too diverse in their layouts, purposes and populations. Wayfinding solutions for healthcare should be examined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all the factors at hand in order to best serve the needs of patients who patronize the facilities.