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How to Create a Welcoming Emergency Department

April 2017
Author: Lisa Ellis

How To Create A Welcoming Emergency Department 

What message does your Emergency Department (ED) send to patients who step through the doors? If it isn’t a comprehensively welcoming one, you could be increasing patient and family stress levels before they’ve even begun assessment or treatment. As overcrowding in EDs and awareness of the consequences grows within the healthcare industry, it’s crucial to begin taking steps to improve your care environment for staff and patients.

Because the ED is often the front door to your facility, start by making this all-important space accessible, easy to navigate, and friendly. Streamlining your ED operations will improve your facility’s brand perception among patients and their families, putting them at ease and promoting better outcomes. To help increase your facility’s appeal and keep things moving smoothly in the process, here are some concepts to keep in mind:

First impressions matter. The design of your ED starts on the outside as people drive up to your facility. It’s important to have clear signage and good lighting to guide patients quickly and safely to the ED entrance. Include parking spaces near the ED to provide easy access to patients and families, and keep your grounds well-groomed to send the message that you take pride in your environment.

Set the right tone immediately inside the doors. A desk area where staff greet, register, and direct patients should be front and center at the entrance to your ED. Create intimate waiting spaces with comfortable furniture groupings to reduce stress for patients and their families. Low ceilings and strategic lighting can help to create a homey atmosphere. It’s also a good idea to select and implement your color and design elements in ways that will help patients navigate their way to services and bathrooms.

Streamline treatment areas. Create a consistent facility-wide map detailing where tools should be stored in each room so that supplies can be located quickly and medical errors reduced.

These and other patient-centered strategies communicate to your patients that you care about them, and that their health and well-being truly matter to you and your staff members.