Most healthcare visits start in a waiting area and, depending on the length of the wait and quality of the environment, can increase the anxiety in what may already be an anxious situation. Research indicates* that the quality of the waiting area – layout, cleanliness, light, color, noise, imagery, etc. – can significantly impact visitors’ experiences and perceptions of care.

Enhancing the waiting area can be a simple and cost-effective route to improving patients’ experiences and satisfaction. Fresher and lighter color schemes; simpler contemporary furnishings; clean and uncluttered space; soft, full lighting; and quiet; all increase visitors’ ratings of waiting areas.

Images of nature, shown in a number of studies** to distract patients, reduce stress and alleviate pain, can be used to great advantage. Sky Factory Luminous SkyCeilings™ create virtual skylights, provide soothing illusions of nature that engage patients and family, contribute a soft and healthful daylight balanced light, and make spaces appear more open. Luminous Virtual Windows™ also provide attractive illusions of the natural world that expand the spatial perception of a room. And, the new Sky Factory eScape™ high-definition (HD) virtual windows bring both the natural movement and sounds of nature’s events inside.

By adding Sky Factory’s compelling illusions of nature to the waiting area, visitors’ perceptions of waiting times can be decreased and levels of stress and anxiety can be alleviated. By setting up the waiting area for maximum comfort, ease and pleasant distraction, the stage is set for a comfortable visit to the doctor and a positive impression of the facility.

* Gulwadi, F. B., Joseph, A. & Keller, A. B. (2009), Exploring the Impact of the Physical Environment on Patient Outcomes in Ambulatory Care Settings, Health Environments Research & Design Journal, v.2, no. 2, pp. 21–41, Winter 2009.

** Ulrich, R. S., Zimring, C., et al, (2008), A Review of the Research Literature on Evidence-Based Healthcare Design, Health Environments Research & Design Journal, v.2, no. 2, pp. 61–125, Winter 2009.

The extensive renovation and expansion of the catheterization lab of Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California, included a unique placement of Sky Factory Luminous Virtual Clerestory Windows™ in the angled bulkheads over each of the six recovery bays. In this way, the designers at Childs, Mascari, Warner Architects were able to provide the soothing presence of fresh open sky in the below grade interior environment where it was impossible to install actual skylights.

Cath Lab Lead Mark Barongan said there has been very positive feedback from patients who appreciate having an engagingly attractive point of focus and the feeling that they are not in a hospital at all.

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