June 30, 2008 // Franchising.com // CARROLLTON, TX - It begins as soon as you pull into the parking lot and attempt to locate the correct building. It continues as you wander maze-like hallways that all seem to look the same. Whether it is to check-in for a procedure or visit a loved-one, successfully navigating through hospitals and medical facilities can be a confusing and often frustrating experience.
"An effective sign and graphics program is fundamental for hospitals to successfully serve the public," said Drue Townsend, senior vice-president of marketing for FASTSIGNS International, Inc. "Clear, easy to understand signage benefits patients, visitors and staff alike."
First, make sure that all signage meets requirements set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These guidelines can affect everything from determining how a hanging sign should be suspended, to requiring specific mounting locations and heights for the plates that label offices and patient rooms.
A good signage program should also be designed to keep up with a hospital's changing environment. For example, permanent wall plates identifying occupants of an office or room should have easily interchangeable name plates. For ongoing communication needs such as construction warnings or promotions of upcoming events, keep banner stands available. They are flexible, portable and allow informational and attention-getting graphics to be quickly changed depending on the need.
For a medical facility's wayfinding system, FASTSIGNS® advises building designers and managers to keep it consistent throughout. Consider planning and creating a system of colors or symbols to visually differentiate and categorize the hospital's sections and services. This will help visitors remember where they need to be by recalling a specific color instead of the exact floor. The use of symbols can help overcome common language barriers, especially in emergency situations.
From the various services available, to the diversity of visitors, there are many different aspects to consider when it comes to putting together a sign and graphics program for a medical facility. With some careful planning, you can ensure a less stressful experience for visitors, patients and staff.
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