Patient anxiety is something dentists deal with on a daily basis. For many, an understanding dentist or a little sedation is all it takes. However for others, the site of a waiting room can bring on a panic attack and cause others to put off seeing their Dentist for months or even years….which is not going to help with their long term dental health!
It has never been so important than to consider how your Practice makes your patients feel and how reducing patient anxiety can be easily achieved with a couple of small changes.
Less of a waiting room and more of a reception
We’ve all been in those soulless waiting rooms where the flickering neon lights reflect off bright white tile floors. Uncomfortable chairs and no distractions certainly won’t encourage nervous patients to stay put! Try and think of this space as a welcoming reception room and less of a transient waiting room. Some tips to consider:
A weekend spent applying some new paint to the walls can help make your patients feel more comfortable and ultimately help with reducing patient anxiety, leaving them more ease. Light, soft pastel shades can make a room feel warm and uplifting. Shades of beige are also considered soothing if you’d rather go with something more traditional.
Offer free Wifi
Instead of televisions, opt for free Wi-Fi in the waiting room. One study found that patients prefer reading (95%) or browsing on their phones (57%) over watching television (47%) in waiting rooms. Give patients the opportunity to entertain themselves as they please without requiring them to use their own mobile phone data. This small act of hospitality can go a long way in making their wait more pleasant and inviting.
Don’t rely on bright overhead lights to provide all the lighting. The ceiling lighting should be subdued, gentle and ideally adjustable. The use of lamps can provide a soft, natural light throughout the reception area.
Some nice comfortable chairs with real cushions and soft armrests are a great addition to any reception area to reduce patient anxiety. Consider a variety of different types of armchairs, sofas and conference chairs to suit all ages. Coffee tables with a selection of up to date publications in good condition will help patients feel more at home and the reading material is a welcome distraction for many.
Families and children
Bored children are not conducive to a relaxing environment! A little children’s corner with books, magazines, toys or even some soft beanbags and a small TV showing cartoons would go a long way towards de-stressing mum and dad!
Having some art on the walls is an excellent way to make a reception area feel more calming. A lovely, relaxing landscape canvas perhaps, or why not invite local artists to display their artwork for a limited time? Lamps and a beautiful thick rug all promote comfort and relaxation and can help put your patients at ease.
Reducing patient anxiety by creating a relaxing atmosphere doesn’t have to be an excessively expensive and it can be phased in over time. Of course, this is not a replacement for attentive caring, and excellent communication skills, but a very important compliment nonetheless! For Dental Interior design and build ideas from experts in this field, speak to Apollo. It’s what we do best.