We do not realize, but space influences our perception of situations and our responses. In a nice space we feel better, we feel “good” and face better what happens to us.
Honestly, I had not realized until now how little we care waiting rooms, perhaps because we consider them a secondary space, but that is a big mistake.
To run a unit there must be a full, balanced and conceived as a whole project. So all the spaces that are part of the ICU should be taken into account: we must not forget any of them, all are important.
A good waiting room is warm, cozy, comfortable, friendly. A space where the family feels comfortable and comforted, rather than a “waiting room” should be a “living room”.
The Spaarne Hospital in Holland has recently made reform in the waiting room of the Department of Oncology. It is very interesting since it is based on the ‘homely’ concept.
A very complete space: wide, where the family does not feel locked up, with natural light that is required to maintain circadian rhythm which avoids the occurrence of depression, stress and despair.
It is essential a proper furniture: comfortable, cosy, ergonomic and aesthetic, and these requirements are important because families spend there many hours and need to feel welcome, being able to rest if necessary in the most comfortable way possible.
It´s very interesting to create two environments in the waiting room. One ambiance would be collective, where family members can interact with other family members and the other would be more private, where families can have intimacy and tranquility. It can be achieved with the distribution of the furniture without partitions or separations in the space.
Decoration, materials and colors help us to create a warmly atmosphere; in fact color influence on our mood. Red, orange and yellow are colors that give energy and spirit, highly recommended for people who feel depressed. Green nature, blue sky and violet flowers, are more emotional and connect us with nature, relaxing and it is advisable to appear in images or photographs to primarily decorate walls.
Waiting rooms are spaces that we should care and to achieve this it is not necessary to do great works. We can improve them to make a warm, cozy and friendly space, turning them into living rooms.