The waiting rooms of an oncology hospital are very special places. During the treatment process against the disease, which can be very long, these spaces become the routine environment of patients. Patients who usually face long waits and moments of high emotional load and stress.
History and classic concept of waiting rooms in hospitals
In recent times, efforts are being made to improve patient care and patient satisfaction scores. What’s more, patient-centred care is becoming increasingly fashionable. Yet surveys continue to show that waiting rooms are a deciding factor in patient satisfaction.
It is a fact that waiting rooms have been a stagnant concept until a few years ago that has not evolved much since its inception. The main improvements have come from the hand of technology, with informative screens.
For the rest, the main changes have been purely aesthetic, changing the furniture, lighting or some aspects of the decoration; without stopping to make other types of changes that result in a greater humanization of the experience.
And the only certain thing is that thousands of cancer patients spend hours in waiting rooms every day.
Aesthetics are important, but at Astron Healthcare, their hospital designers & planners believe it is time to reflect deeply and re-examine the purpose of waiting rooms. What is its functionality? How can we make them as pleasant places as possible for patients?
Why are cancer waiting rooms so important?
The waiting room is usually the first contact the patient has with medical oncology and radiation oncology services. This is where any support strategy, both psychological and emotional, should begin.
Although most people may think that a waiting room is a place of little importance, the truth is that it is a space that can radically change people’s lives. However, in it we will spend some of the most distressing and stressful moments of our lives.
Next, we leave you with some relevant data about these spaces, which allow us to get a good idea of their importance.
Patients typically spend an average of 8 weeks in oncology waiting rooms.
Various studies indicate that the average consultation time is just over 9 minutes. However, the waiting time can be as long as 5 or 6 hours.
Almost all patients agree that waiting times are endless, something that has a very negative influence on their moods.
Without a doubt, oncology waiting rooms represent a delicate environment that requires a rethinking of the way of understanding space, as well as a new methodology to care for patients.
There is scientific evidence that shows the influence of architecture on people’s health. For example, a study published in the 1980s in the journal Science showed that patients who had views of green surroundings from their hospital room spent less time in hospital and needed fewer pain relievers.
This direct relationship between the hospital space planning design and the results obtained highlights not only the potential that architectural design has in the recovery of patients, but also the economic repercussions it entails for healthcare institutions.