chapter  5
‘R’ is for room
ByEd Warren
Pages 11

Studies of the psychological effects of healthcare environment confirm the importance of privacy and territoriality, and the fact that the arrangement of furniture in a room affects the way in which people behave and interact. A number of studies have confirmed the physiological effects of environment, and reinforce the view that a 'therapeutic environment' is realistic objective. Many patients spend more time in the waiting room than they do in the consulting room, and while they are there they will probably have more than enough time to look at their environment. Patients will inevitably interpret the waiting room as representative of their family doctor's attitude towards them. Patients do notice how their family doctor is dressed, and their perceptions leave impressions which may affect consultation outcomes. A quarter of the patients said that they would be unhappy consulting with an informally dressed family doctor, and two-thirds felt that the way a family doctor dresses is either important or very important.