We all want our patients to feel completely at ease when they walk into the clinic. More often than not, patients and their families probably don’t want to be attending a medical or dental appointment. Feelings ranging from boredom to uncertainty to fear are common in clinical spaces. Noting this, significant investment has been made in interior design for clinical spaces over the last few decades.
Fitout designers are constantly thinking about the patient experience when designing clinical spaces. In this day and age, every effort is made to keep the customer as comfortable as possible. But that said, how much is too much? At what point have we lost the ideal balance between patient comfort and clinic practicality? Read on to learn what clinic design features are more hassle than they’re worth, and which are must-haves for the modern clinic.
Large, bulky furniture like lounges and couches tend to be impractical choices for the clinic. While a comfy, plush couch is as inviting as ever, it’s not the best option. Firstly, if you need to re-arrange furniture, a large couch won’t be easy to manoeuvre. Plus, installing couches in your practice is not the most COVID safe choice. If multiple patients want to sit down, to remain socially distanced, not everyone will get a seat.
Opt for chairs instead
On the flipside, chairs are easy to move if you need to move furniture around in the clinic. Plus, their maneuverability lends itself to social distancing. That said, you will still need to ensure you are selecting chairs that are comfortable, provide adequate back and arm support, as typically required for elderly clients. Commercial chairs are durable and strong, are usually rated to withstand heavy weight use – to safeguard your clients and often come with warranties on the product. To maintain the ease of cleaning, and to minimise the risk of spread of infection, there is a vast array of polypropylene shell seat styles available. The contemporary vinyls available – that also have the textured appeal of fabric, provide a huge range of styles and colours for upholstered seating.
Curtains can be a pleasing design feature. They can add an inviting softness to a room. But in the clinic, they’re not always the best choice. Curtains harbour dust, bacteria and dirt. Not only do curtains get dirty easily, washing them is difficult. In clinical spaces, this is not ideal. To keep patients safe from germs, it’s best to choose an alternative to curtains.
Opt for blinds instead
If your curtains are difficult to clean, opt for blinds instead. They will block out any glare just as efficiently as your curtains and will be far easier to clean. Day to day, blinds can be dusted. For a more thorough clean, spray and wipe.
Who doesn’t love a shaggy carpet? Well, sadly, shaggy carpets and other thick carpets are not the best choices for clinic fit-outs. Like curtains, they can be hard to keep clean. This is especially pertinent to clinic floors, which suffer a high turnover of foot traffic. Clinic floors may also suffer pressure from wheelchairs, walking frames and crutches.
Not only do carpets hold onto dust, but any spillages can be hard to remove, and may even result in stains. And while carpet is soft and inviting, a stained carpet in the clinic is not the best way to welcome new patients!
Opt for hard floors instead
Fortunately, there are plenty of other flooring options that provide a beautiful, welcoming atmosphere for clinics, without detracting from practicality. For example, timber-look vinyl planks have the appeal and look of natural wood, but are easy to clean, soft underfoot, and can be laid in a number of pattern layouts. Tiles are another great option. Both of these flooring options have a solid surface that won’t attract dirt, dust, pollen or any other allergens.
Trust Dentifit with your clinic fit-out
At Dentifit, we have been completing medical, dental and veterinary clinic fit-outs for decades. Our team of fit-out specialists and interior designers are committed to achieving your dream fit-out space, well within your time and budget constraints. Be sure to contact our team today if you would like to enquire about our fit-out services.