The Patient Path often begins by referral from a specialist or unexpected accident or emergency. The patient will usually arrive with preconceptions and fears, so first impressions should ideally be welcoming and calming, whilst giving security, trust and reassurance in the quality of care provided by the hospital.

Transitional spaces such as corridors, waiting areas, play areas, reception areas and external spaces can have uses beyond their primary function, in that the space can be used to influence the mood of the patient or visitor immediately before or after they enter the treatment zone. Therefore, when designing these environments we have to first understand the spectrum of users passing through the space, so that we can create an environment that is tailored to their likely emotional or psychological state.

The stage of observation, investigation and diagnosis is vital in order to arrive at the appropriate course of treatment and programme of care. Information gathering, tests and scans can be intrusive, painful and frightening because of the physical process, followed by the anxiety of waiting for results.

The form, internal arrangement and construction of the space will primarily reflect the functions and equipment used, whilst consideration also needs to be given to combating the potential stress and anxiety in the patient.

Day-patients will receive direct care in the Consulting, Treatment and Minor Ops Rooms. Inpatients and some emergency patients would be moved to a ward to await or monitor their treatment or to recover from an operation.

The design and arrangement of each ward will vary considerably for patients; for example some will need isolation for infectious diseases, or shared wards for easier monitoring of patients recovering from surgery. Over the years wards have changed in size and gender allocation, […]