Signage system designed for hospitals
"reduces violence by 50 percent"

| 10 comments
 

News: a redesigned accident and emergency department by London studio PearsonLloyd has been found to reduce aggression and violence by 50 percent.

A Better A&E by PearsonLloyd
Photograph by Simon Turner

The design was trialled over the past year at a hospital in London and another in Southampton, and PearsonLloyd director Tom Lloyd told Dezeen the results have been overwhelmingly positive: "We were shocked by the fact that there was a 50 percent reduction in the aggressive incidents across the two hospitals after the implementation."

A Better A&E by PearsonLloyd
Photograph by Simon Turner

"For some reason A&E is a space where people feel like they have the right to get angry and start shouting," said Lloyd. "We thought that by trying to calm the space down and take that away there would be less likelihood of violent incidents."

Photograph by Simon Turner
Photograph by Simon Turner

In response to a brief from the Design Council and the Department of Health, PearsonLloyd assembled a multidisciplinary team including psychoanalysts, service designers, A&E consultants and social scientists to identify the main reasons why patients become agitated enough to physically or verbally abuse hospital staff.

"A lot of the frustration that leads to anger is just a lack of knowledge and a lack of understanding about how things work," explained Lloyd. "It's caused by patients not understanding the clinical language or the process or why someone who arrives after them is seen before them."

A Better A&E by PearsonLloyd

The proposed solution focuses on placing key information in relevant locations within the waiting room and consultation areas so patients are constantly aware of where they are and how long each part of the process might take.

A Better A&E by PearsonLloyd
Process map - click for larger image

A process map in the waiting room guides patients arriving at A&E through the process, from check-in to assessment, treatment and next steps, and is supplemented by a leaflet with more details.

A Better A&E by PearsonLloyd
Guidance panels - click for larger image

Vertical panels throughout the department explain the activities that take place in each space and their consistent appearance makes them easily identifiable.

A Better A&E by PearsonLloyd

Live information about how busy the department is and predicted waiting times for different assessments are displayed on monitors and the designers have proposed a mobile app that could direct patients to the nearest A&E with the shortest waiting times.

A Better A&E by PearsonLloyd

"It's about providing information and it sounds so simple but we wanted to create something that was cheap because if we'd designed the perfect waiting room, with great chairs and great lighting, then the chances of that being able to be rolled out in any hospital was next to zero," explained Lloyd.

"We wanted a system that could be retrofitted at very low cost and quite high speed in almost any department in the country."

A Better A&E by PearsonLloyd

The second part of the proposal is a programme that encourages staff to record instances of abuse on a purpose-designed chart so these can be communicated to management and trends identified that could facilitate procedural changes.

"For example, you imagine it's drunk men on a Friday night who cause most of the problems, whereas it might actually be other people for perfectly legitimate reasons being confused by the system," explained Lloyd.

A Better A&E by PearsonLloyd

PearsonLloyd also developed a set of guidelines that enable the system to be implemented in any existing hospital and provide advice for architects and interior designers developing new healthcare facilities.

A Better A&E by PearsonLloyd

A website that acts as a resource for healthcare providers launched on Thursday and PearsonLloyd are now talking to several other trusts about implementing the system.

A Better A&E by PearsonLloyd

  • Gavin

    A clear, smart and simple way of making a hospital a little less ‘hospitally’. It will be good to see it rolled out as standard.

  • Marmaduke

    The real role of a designer. Great work.

  • iag

    It highlights the importance of communicating. During a recent trip to A&E in the middle of the night in London you can quickly appreciate why people become agitated – poor ‘bedside manner’ led to my partner and I being left for periods of time with no explanation as to what the process was and why certain things were happening. You obviously can’t beat human interaction, however this is a good secondary means of communicating.

    • Sad

      But what to expect from a healthcare system that is free? And people still feel they need to be treated as kings even though they pay nothing for it. Modern society.

      • Jonathan Biggins

        Free? The NHS isn’t free! It’s paid for by the taxpayer. And rightly so, in a civilised society.

      • iag

        Free? I think I shall send you my wage slip and you’ll see how much we pay for our health service. Which incidentally is for everyone, we fortunately don’t (yet) believe healthcare should be a privilege for the wealthy.

      • Tim

        Since when did an approximate per person contribution of £1,980 per year (or over £100 billion in total) constitute being free?

  • Daniel brown

    Surely the complete lack of staff and patients also contributes to the non-violence?

    • http://www.george-fortune.com/ George

      Haha! Yes, no violence in that empty hospital. =)

  • Concerned Citizen

    Those places always look so nice and clean… until they become operational.