Way Finding in Hospitals

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Hospitals are the place where we visit for a Regular check-up, Emergency, or just to see a relative admitted in the Hospital; a trip into the Hospital can be full of anxiety but we are left with no option.

Hospital Complex is a strange & unfamiliar place for the Patients or its visiting relatives who are visiting the building for the first time. So it is extremely important to Guide them towards the right destination without the fear of getting lost in the departments and its corridors. While a Nurse or Hospital Staff can guide the patients and visitors, a well planned “Way Finding with universally excepted “Sign & Graphics” and timely taken “Architectural decisions” can be of great help.

The term “wayfinding” was first used in 1960 by Architect Kevin Lynch in The Image of the City, where he referred to maps, street numbers, directional signs and other elements as “way-finding” devices.

In a Hospital the challenges of wayfinding is to guide the visitor who may be a well qualified Dr. or an illiterate patients to its destinations. So we can not assume to have completed our task to guide just by putting few singages. A “Wel Coming” entrance, self inviting location of help-desk, well defined primary and secondary corridors, selection of theme based flooring patterns, purposed based decorative lighting can make the Architect’s job easy.

There are four types of  “Signs”

  1. Identification of the destinations.
  2. Information about the destination.
  3. Direction of the destination.
  4. Regulatory Advice regarding the specific usage / prohibition of the destination.

“Way finding is a strategy to assist people to successfully navigate a site and reach their intended Destination”.

Way finding help us to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Guide an individual to a particular destination
  2. Identify a particular location or service
  3. Control vehicles and pedestrians movements within the Hospital Complex

Following way finding strategy can be considered in the design proposal:

External way finding:

  1. Campus and Building Identification
  2. Entry(s) Sign
  3. Parking Arrival Sign
  4. Department identification
  5. Orientation / Direction identification

Internal way finding:

  1. Entrance Lobby
  2. Reception/Help Desk
  3. Waiting Area
  4. Room/Office and personal Signage
  5. Toilets
  6. Elevators
  7. Fire Exit Routes / Fire Exit Staircases
  8. Fire Extinguishers
  9. Restricted Zones
  10. General Information Signs

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