Doctors Surgery Waiting Room Improvement Ideas

A good doctor’s surgery waiting room should be warm and welcoming. But it’s a lot more important that it’s safe and functional.

If you run a GP surgery and you want to improve your waiting room, first you need to understand some of the key problems you need to overcome.

Key Challenges for GP Waiting Rooms

  • Infection risks – There are always viruses making the rounds. Many of those who visit your waiting room will carry infection risks, or else they’ll have conditions that might make them vulnerable to infection. You need to strike a balance between keeping your patients safe without preventing anyone from receiving the care and support they need.
  • Accessibility – Some patients will have limited mobility. Some may have low literacy skills, learning disabilities, or other conditions that might make accessing and processing information difficult.
  • A warm welcome? – Very few people actively enjoy visiting their GP. Your waiting room could be a dreary and oppressive place that makes your patients feel even worse. Or it could be a warm and welcoming portal to better health, a place that immediately puts your patients at ease.

In this post, we’ll explore some doctors’ surgery waiting room improvement ideas – starting with some key practical and clinical considerations.

Infection Prevention and Control in Waiting Rooms

Good infection prevention and control should be at the heart of your waiting room’s design. And robust cleaning protocols and procedures are at the heart of good infection prevention and control.

You should weigh up the infection risk for every decision you make. For example, viruses and bacteria can spread in the fibres of carpets and curtains, but they can also live for a while on hard surfaces. So you’ll have to devise a specific cleaning protocol for every item of furniture you introduce to the waiting room, based on its material and its frequency of use.

Also, you might want to add certain items to your waiting room to keep patients occupied while they wait, such as magazines, or toys for children. But again, remember that anything that stays in your waiting room can act as a vector for infection. So if you’re providing magazines, change them as often as you can. And if you provide toys, make sure they’re easy to clean, and clean them as regularly as possible.

Read our full guide to cleaning procedures for infection prevention and control.

We also have a guide to standard infection control procedures for all healthcare settings.

Waiting Room Design Ideas for Accessibility

Some of your patients will have mobility issues. Any furniture you provide in your waiting room should account for this. Crucially, your chairs need arms so that they’re easy for patients to sit on and to stand up from. And make sure you leave room in your waiting room for wheelchair users.

Make your chairs alternating colours, and patients with dementia will find them easier to distinguish. Make your lighting bright enough that partially sighted patients will be able to read all relevant notices, but not so dazzling that your waiting room feels oppressively bright.

And remember that some patients will struggle to access or process information. For every essential pamphlet, leaflet, form, poster, or notice you provide, you should make alternative versions available. At the very least, you should provide easy-read versions for patients with learning disabilities and braille versions for patients with a visual impairment.

How to Make a Waiting Room Warm and Welcoming

Making your waiting room as warm and welcoming as possible without compromising on infection prevention and control, and accessibility can be tricky. You need to think of ways you can make the room welcoming without adding to your staff’s workloads too.

You could add plants, which can have a calming effect on anyone. But do your staff have the capacity to look after these plants? Have you thought about pollen, and other potentially harmful emissions from plant life?

You could paint the walls a soothing colour, but not all colours are soothing to all people. And you can hang artwork to add light, life and colour to the room. But artwork can be pricey. And again, different images can mean vastly different things to different people.

You could play some music in your waiting room to set a positive mood, or to help patients relax. Though bear in mind you’ll need a licence to play anything other than commercial radio. You could also place a TV in your waiting room. This will keep some patients occupied while they wait. But some broadcasts, such as rolling news coverage, may only serve to increase patients’ anxiety.

Ultimately, there’s no accounting for taste. How you choose to decorate your waiting room might depend on your specific patient demographic. So why not ask for feedback? Talk to your staff, and as many patients as you can, to get some insights into the sort of ideas that would help make your waiting room a more pleasant place to wait.

A Breath of Fresh Air

Work to improve the air quality in your waiting room and you can contribute to good infection prevention and control.

Medical grade air purifiers can remove up to 99.97% of hazardous and toxic air pollutants, including particulate matter, microplastics, smoke, dust, and VOCs – along with bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.

So even a small air purifier can quickly and effectively reduce the levels of airborne contaminants in your waiting room. But at the same time, they’ll fill every corner of your waiting room with pure air, so the very atmosphere of your surgery will feel noticeably cleaner and fresher.

Read more about how an air purifier can help you prevent and control infections while contributing to your patients’ overall wellbeing.

We Can Help You Improve Your GP Clinic Waiting Room

From air purifiers to advanced cleaning solutions, we offer a range of products and services that will help you make your waiting room safer, cleaner and more welcoming for both staff and patients.

Get in touch to discuss how we can help you make fast and effective improvements to your GP clinic waiting room.