How Good Hospital Wayfinding Solutions Promote Health and Safety
Wayfinding is a broad-ranging issue that encompasses not only signage but how patients, visitors and staff find their way around in a hospital, with special emphasis on newcomers. In hospitals, wayfinding should be made as intuitive as possible, making use of effective, well-placed signage which utilizes the design and décor of the facility. When people think of
wayfinding, the first thing that comes to mind is how signage and building design come together to help people find their way around. Another vital consideration for planners is how good hospital wayfinding solutions promote health and safety.
In a hospital, particularly in a large, complex facility, directional signs are of utmost importance. They are crucial to wayfinding, especially for people who have never been to the hospital before. Clear exterior directional signage helps people know where to park, in terms of where the parking lots are located and which parking lot will put them closest to their destination in the hospital. This promotes health and safety in that there will be fewer confused people driving around, and as a result, there’ll be fewer accidents. Inside the hospital, directional signs are every bit as important and contribute in their own way to people’s health and safety. A prime example of this is signage that marks emergency exits. Another example of safety-enhancing signage is that which directs people to elevators, stairs, and other means of making their way to different areas of the hospital. When people can find their way efficiently, they are less likely to suffer accidents as a result of feeling harried or frustrated.
Good wayfinding in hospitals promotes safety in that it contributes to a greater sense of well-being in patients and loved ones. Patients and loved ones are often under great stress when they arrive at a hospital, since patients are experiencing health problems, and loved ones are worried about them. Wayfinding solutions that people experience as simple and intuitive can play a strong role in patient comfort. Patients and loved ones who can find their way around a hospital can then focus on the issues at hand – the patients getting better, and the loved ones doing whatever they can to help and support – without having to worry about not being able to get where they need to go. In this way, health and safety are promoted. Patients and loved ones feel calmer when the hospital provides low-stress wayfinding, and calmer patients and visitors are much less likely to get upset and accidentally hurt themselves.
In hospitals, good wayfinding solutions also aid health and safety by inspiring staff confidence. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals and staff who can more easily find their way around the facility without frustration and confusion are staff members who are less likely to accidentally hurt themselves by getting in too much of a hurry. Medical professionals have jobs to do and much to think about, namely working to heal people. A wayfinding solution which doesn’t get in their way means a big load off their minds. They can then focus on what’s important: caring for the sick. Signage, especially dynamic digital signage, can also facilitate communication among staff, and this can help not only with wayfinding but also with updating the facility’s emergency procedures and making everyone aware of those updates quickly.
Good hospital wayfinding solutions promote health and safety on multiple levels. Obviously, a hospital needs clearly-marked emergency exits and directional signage that helps people get to where they need to be with minimum stress. Signage can also alert people to areas in the hospital that are being worked on or renovated so that they can steer clear of situations that might be dangerous. Health care facilities must put health and safety as high-priority considerations when planning wayfinding solutions for all who enter their doors, whether patients, visitors or hospital staff.