Five tips for giving your practice a facelift
How can a refurbishment make patient experience better? Tony Cahill advises
As GP practices face mounting pressure to meet CQC standards, you may feel the need to update your practice to ensure that your premises are fit for purpose and are able to manage changing requirements and demands.Carrying out a refurbishment on a practice – even if that’s simply updating the décor or reorganising the layout – can not only help with maintaining quality standards, but will ensure patients receive the best possible experience whilst in your care. Here are some things you should consider when refurbishing:
1. Keep your practice looking new to make a good first impression: Ensuring your interiors are up to date and feel welcoming will help patients feel more comfortable when they enter the building, in what could be a potentially stressful situation for them. It pays to invest in keeping the décor looking fresh and ensuring carpets never look worn. If you work from an older building, consider the need for new windows and doors - or even an entire internal refurbishment. It shows that you take the environment you work in seriously, and that you care for the surroundings as much as you do your patients. Plus, if your surgery is bright and inspiring, your team is likely to feel more positive in the workspace.
2. Make the best use of space: If you’re undergoing a refurbishment, it’s worthwhile spending some time beforehand considering the priorities for the space, today and into the future. How does your team work best? How many private rooms do you need? Do you need to allocate space for additional services or recreational space for children? Are you planning to expand? Understanding these factors before you embark on a refurbishment will help facilities management consultants to adapt the space to your specific needs, ensuring each area is flexible enough to be adapted for years to come.
3. Improve safety: if you haven’t done so in a while, taking a serious look at the functionality of the surgery can help identify areas where you could improve safety for your patients and staff. Consider if steps could be modified into a ramp to prevent trips and falls or if heavy doors could be made automatic for ease of entering. Are the current fire doors placed in the best areas in case of an emergency? Exploring every opportunity for accidents and employing measures to prevent them will protect your patients and staff from injury and accident – something which should always remain an absolute priority.
4. Be environmentally friendly: identify opportunities within the practice to reduce carbon use. Doing so will highlight the most effective money saving measures for the surgery, such as installing a higher-grade boiler, fitting energy efficient windows, draught proofing or fitting loft and cavity wall insulation. Demonstrating that you care about the impact on the environment outside the surgery, and sharing the changes you make through posters and leaflets, will help instil more green-conscious credentials into your patients, which means you’re playing a serious part in protecting the planet.
5. Be aware of your community impact: it’s important to remember your practice is a thriving part of the local community. So while it’s essential to maintain your interiors, it’s equally important to care for the areas surrounding your building too. Keeping tidy gardens, maintaining the car park, working to reduce litter in the area and planting new trees and plants will allow patients visiting to feel more welcome and helps keep the community looking clean and tidy – something everyone appreciates, from patients, to staff and neighbours.
Tony Cahill is executive director at refurbishment and facilities management company, Vivark.