The appearance of a health facility, if well planned, can be beneficial for patients, visitors and staff of the hospital. It can help reduce patient and staff stress and fatigue leading to increase in effectiveness of delivering care and improve overall healthcare quality. Choosing a soothing colour for exterior and interior paint, display of facility’s name and services, proper signage system and Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material are basic considerations to be taken into account while planning the facility appearance.
Paint and Plaster
The hospital should be plastered evenly for smoother surfaces and should be painted both from outside and inside in a uniform colour scheme which reflects a stress free and calm environment.
- The facility should regularly check for any chipping of plaster and fading of paint
- Regular maintenance of plaster and paint needs to be a part of periodic maintenance programme as discussed earlier in these guidelines.
- The colour schemes can be adopted as per state directives or as planned by the hospital management.
- While planning the material for plaster and paint, infection control effectiveness of the materials should be considered.
Hospitals being a multi departmental set up and having various services which are available at different locations, need to have a proper signage system in the facility which not only contributes to finding the way in and around the hospital premises but also provides relevant information about the services provided by the health facility.
While planning an effective signage system of the hospital following elements should be considered:
- Sign posts need to be in uniform colour scheme and should provide visual signals.
- The signs should be prominently displayed and clearly understood.
- Content should be clear and consistent. Text and pictographs should be identical from the starting point to destination.
- The font size used for display boards should be clear and visible from a distance.
- The signage system of the hospital should be at least bilingual one in English and other in local language or Hindi.
- Script, language and lines need to be selected for optimal reading and type style should be legible and compatible with the pictographs and the environment.
- The shape of designed boards should essentially be customised according to the location and should not be complex in structure.
- Signboards need to be placed closer to one’s natural line of vision for enhanced vision.
- Signage system should include path of information, links, flow and structure of the health facility and the various activities performed therein.
It is suggested that the displayed content needs to be concise and unambiguous conveying the message clearly. Instructional boards in hospitals should be proactive like “Help us in maintaining silence” instead of being passive like “Keep silence’’.
Type of Signages
Hospitals need to have at least these signages in place at and around the health facilities.
These signages includes the signage or display which are mandatory under different rules and regulations as per National or State laws. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- Signage under PCPNDT Act.
- No Smoking signage.
- Signage as per Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) guidelines for radiation warning.
- Signage under Bio Medical Waste (BMW) Rules 2016 with biohazard symbol.
- Signage for CCTV surveillance.
- Illuminated signage for fire exit and fire exit plans on each floor.
- Display of licenses and certifications for various services like pharmacy, license for registration of sonologist and USG machine, license for blood bank, AERB license etc.
Locational or Departmental Signages
Locational signs are used to identify the location of department/ services.
External Location Signage
- Hospitals need to have one large external location sign with ‘’Name of Facility’’. This should be displayed at every main entry and exit point of the health facility
- This sign should be positioned high enough to be visible to drivers and people entering the hospital.
- External signs need to be artificially illuminated to ensure they are visible in the night also.
- “Emergency Department” signage board needs to be illuminated in RED and should be prominently visible.
- Hospital layout with demarcated block wise establishment needs to be displayed at the entrance of the hospital.
Internal Location Signage
- Hospital needs to develop internal location signage for all departments/areas like OT, surgical ward, pharmacy, OPD, etc.
- Location signs need to be positioned such that they are visible and legible from all directions of approach by all site users.
To direct people to a destination by means of a text message and an arrow.
External Directional Signage
- Hospital needs to have external directional signage which leads to the hospital from the main approach road.
- Such directional signages need to be placed at different strategic locations like major intersections of the road leading to the hospital, main connecting road and at any round about which may be present on the road leading to the hospital
Internal Directional Signage
These signages need to be placed in the health facility indicating directions to various establishments like OPD block, parking area, emergency department or directions to various departments located on a particular floor.
Do's and Don'ts for directional signages
Directional signs should have clear direction indicators – usually arrow
Avoid using unclear or misleading arrows which may cause confusion
There should be a directional (or locational ) sign at each key decision point
Avoid trying to direct people back to the way they have come. The types of arrow used to convey this message are often difficult to understand
The direction the arrow is indicating should be easy to understand, and easy to relate to the actual environment
Avoid listing too many destinations on one sign
Directional signs should be consistently positioned so people know where to look for information
Avoid leaving too big a gap between the text and arrow
- Hospital should have departmental directories at appropriate place in the hospital.
- Directories positioned on various floors should include all the services that are available on the particular floor.
- Directories can be positioned outside lifts or at building entrances
Besides these, other signages may also be displayed like Citizen Charter including patient rights and responsibilities, display of rate lists, display of important contact numbers like higher referral centres, blood bank, emergency response numbers and complaint redressal procedure, scope of services, services not available, major timings of the hospital and departments, contact numbers of personnel of major functioning departments etc.
- Adequate display of IEC posters need to be displayed at appropriate locations of the hospital.
- No unwanted/outdated posters should be pasted on the walls of building and boundary of the hospital.
- IEC materials should be as per the scope of services provided by the health facility.
- IEC materials may include information related to various health programmes, immunisation schedules, educational posters of hand washing, preventive maintenance aspects, posters for MCH, health related information, educational poster on disaster management etc.
Source: : Guidelines For Implementation Of "KAYAKALP" Initiative