Don’t Get Lost! The Importance of Wayfinding Signs in Healthcare Facilities

Wayfinding signage isn’t just important in retail environments or office buildings; it’s absolutely critical in healthcare facilities as well. Hospitals, medical centers, and other healthcare facilities often experience very different challenges than retail and office spaces do, which means they require specialized signage solutions to ensure all employees — and patients — are safe and able to get where they need to go quickly and efficiently.

Keep Wayfinding Simple

Wayfinding signage is one of those things that, when done properly, people don’t even notice. It’s very important to keep your wayfinding simple and intuitive; you don’t want people getting lost or walking aimlessly through hallways trying to find a restroom or medical office. A clean and easy-to-read sign layout will help ensure patients (and their families) are able to find what they need without delay.

Know Your Audience (Patients)

Wayfinding signs are essential at health facilities

When it comes to wayfinding and signage, healthcare facilities have an interesting task on their hands. Unlike many other settings, most patients are unable to rely on their own sense of direction to get around – not only do they not know where they’re going, but there is often a reason why they can’t just find it themselves. There is also a variety of different populations coming through who may be older or cognitively impaired for any number of reasons.

Know Your Space (Floor Plans)

One of your first steps as a facility manager should be to know your space. This means not only knowing where each department is located, but also understanding which departments need to work together and how they will do so.

Use Consistent Colors and Fonts

Consistent hospital signage makes it easier for your visitors to navigate. When using colors, do not use red unless you are directing patients to an emergency area; similarly, stick with safety colors like green or blue. Use white and light gray for contrast on a colored background, and use black or dark gray if your font will be difficult to read on a colored background.

Place Wayfinding Signage Where Patients Need It

If you work or visit a hospital or healthcare facility, it’s likely that you’ve had to ask someone for directions at some point. Don’t get lost with patients and visitors by making sure wayfinding signage is clearly visible throughout your space. Place directional signs where they are needed — especially near entrances, exits, elevators, and patient rooms — so everyone can quickly find their way around. Be sure to add color-coded arrows as an extra feature for your readers.

Provide Context with Directional Arrows

Orientation is important for everyone, but especially in healthcare facilities. It’s critical that signage clearly identifies exits and entrances, particularly for those with limited mobility or vision impairment. Use arrows to indicate which way to go — and include floor-by-floor guides, so people know what floor they’re on and where they are going. Be sure all signs follow your organization’s color code and have high-contrast lettering (so anyone can read them). Also, be sure you can update signs quickly if needed.

Keep it Visible!

When selecting materials for your wayfinding signage and directories, you want something that will stand out. In a busy hospital or clinic, signage needs to be visible from afar so patients can find their way easily. 

Contact Genesis Signs & Graphics for all your healthcare signage needs!