What do you want in a waiting room?

I’ve visited a lot of clinics in the last few months and am always interested in the different ideas they have about waiting rooms and what patients want.  Some are quite cold and clinical with stiff-backed chairs and nothing to look at, others are full of low sofas and potted plants, some offer magazines to read, others focus on fertility-related literature and some have a selection of fertility books.  Some have soft music playing, others have a TV on all the time in the corner.  It’s interesting to see how different the thoughts are about what patients want and what might be helpful.

One of my favourite waiting rooms is light and airy with an interesting view and lots of brightly coloured low sofas.  It has a machine for hot drinks and a selection of fertility books to read.  To me, it always feels instantly relaxing, but it benefits from being spacious and there’s a limit to what you can do when you have a very cramped space for the waiting room which a number of clinics do.  Of course, in the scheme of things waiting rooms are not important when it comes to choosing somewhere to go for your fertility treatment, but I think they do say something about how much thought and effort the clinic has put into trying to create a pleasant space for you – and that thought and effort may be reflected in other areas too.

The one thing which I think is really very difficult is a clinic waiting room which shares space with an antenatal unit as there is nothing worse than having to sit opposite a woman who is pregnant when you’re waiting for a fertility appointment.  Even sharing the same entrance and some facilities can be awkward.

I think my priorities would be comfortable seats, some books to look at and a space that made me feel secure and confident about confidentiality, but I’d be interested to know what you think… What makes a good fertility clinic waiting room? Are there things you’d really like that no one has thought of?



2 thoughts on “What do you want in a waiting room?

  1. A couple of thoughts from me:
    1) keep the waiting area away from ante natal, that is just the worst (I hate when fertility scans are in the same location/time as antenatal scans too)
    2) keep child free – even if you have had fertility treatment to be successful, respect your fellow patients (happened to me before now and even my husband noticed)
    3) as warm and friendly as possible, the patients are very stressed and need to be in a nice environment, and that is both the physical environment, but also the attitude of staff.

    I’ve been in 4 hospitals dealing with fertility issues, the NHS really was awful in its coldness and cross over with maternity services, a private generalist hospital was generally ok because the times of the clinics generally meant no one else was around, but walking around with your notes did make you stick out, solely fertility clinics were the best, but I did have the child issue in both that I attended and I think that wasn’t just the physical environment, but that every single member of staff understood the position we were in and treated us kindly.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment – it is interesting how different the different clinics can be. I agree that absolutely THE worst thing in a waiting room is shared space with maternity units. I don’t think it happens as much now – but it still does sometimes and is really upsetting.

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