In your hospital administrator position, you may get feedback that visitors and patients are having trouble navigating through your facility, especially if it's a large one. When people can't find their way to their loved ones after a health scare or have trouble getting to their appointments, that isn't good for morale. Help your hospital to serve the community more easily with these wayfinding suggestions.
1. Use Landmarks
If someone finds themselves lost in the hospital, they need to be rerouted by staffers they run into. This rerouting can take long descriptions that are hard to remember for people unfamiliar with the facility. Large, recognizable landmarks can help staff members explain to patients where to go. For instance, a mural or a portrait can be noticeable and easy to explain. If someone has to simply find a mural and turn left, people can remember that.
2. Use Color
Color can be great for wayfinding. By color-coding signs and maps, people can navigate around. For example, if all the radiology department's rooms are coded purple, people looking for them only need follow purple signs or markers to that area.
3. Use the Floor
Often, the floor is forgotten. However, the floor can guide patients and visitors around. By using colored arrows or tiles, people can be guided to their hospital destination.
4. Use Lighting
Lighting can subtly keep people moving in a way that encourages their wayfinding tasks. For instance, if people are finished with their appointment or visit and need to leave, finding their way back to the elevator isn't always easy. Marking the way with neon lights could guide them back.
You can also use sunlight; having elevator bays in places with large windows or skylights can attract people to certain common areas where they can receive help.
5. Avoid Medical Jargon
Hospital staff may feel comfortable using acronyms and nicknames for various places in the hospital. However, remember most patients aren't as familiar with all the language professionals use. Therefore, signs and wayfinding systems should be free of medical jargon.
6. Train Staff
Your staff can make wayfinding harder or easier. They should all get periodic training on helping people find their way. Every staffer should use the same language when describing landmarks, departments, and different areas of the hospital. Training sessions should clarify language to be used.
With these wayfinding recommendations, people should be able to get around more easily inside your hospital. Team up with a design team that has specific wayfinding system products which can enhance visitor and patient navigation even more.