The patient-friendly measures adopted by hospitals and clinics are popular with patients as it helps them conquer their fear

When three-year-old Armaan was advised a root canal treatment, his mother wondered how to make him agree for the anaesthesia, which needed to be injected on his gum. But Armaan does not dread the word hospital nor is he scared of the doctor now. In fact, he jumps with joy the moment his mom takes him to a hospital. Well, for one, his ‘armaan' to play gets fulfilled even in a hospital.

The sights, smells and even the sounds of a hospital can make even the toughest wince in queasiness. For long they have been associated with painful pricks, rough white-robed nurses and colourless white walls adorned with pictorial posters of either the human body or some disease.

Not anymore. Things are slowly changing with some hospitals creating an ambience to suit the palate of their clientele. Walls of children's hospitals adorn their popular comic icons Spiderman or Batman or even a Mermaid. Well, some even have play stations and igloos, something that the kids love.

Today, for most children, going to a hospital is akin to visiting a park or a playground with loads of fun elements incorporated into the design and interior décor of the hospital. Take Lotus Children Hospital for instance. Walk into the hospital and one gets completely transformed into a kids' world. Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria — the Madagascar characters welcome you. The longer the wait the better, for children get extra play time in the space station-themed waiting room in the hospital.

“All this is to keep the child distracted. Diagnosis is best when they speak. We talk and also play with them to gain their confidence. The white robe too is given a miss so that children consider us as ‘uncles' and not an injection wielding doctor,” says CEO, Dr. V.S.V. Prasad.

It is not just the ambience in these hospitals that make them unique. “It is also the friendly attitude of the staff that makes Lotus Hospital environments pleasant,” Dr. Prasad adds.

But it is not just children who need to be put at ease with their doctor. Adults too need this pleasant break.

At Oasis, a woman's clinic in Jubilee Hills, it's the décor and attitude of the doctors and staff that takes away the stress of the patients. “Waiting for your turn to see the doctor is like waiting for your turn at the hairstylist. You look forward to it. The place with its comfortable furniture, wallpapers, paintings, flowers and curtains completely relaxes you. The doctors too aren't in a hurry to prescribe medicines and show you the door,” says Pallavi Kumar, software professional. Pallavi's workplace is close-by and her colleagues who also go to the same clinic agree with her.

However, these facilities are not restricted to exclusive private clinics. At L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, unmindful of the bandaged eye a child is busy with an indoor coloured slide. When asked if the child wants to go back home, her mother says, “These things are new for her. In the village they don't get all this so she is very happy and wants to stay back here,” she smiles.

Play areas and plush interiors might not be a common thing. However, paintings substituting medical posters are a pleasant change.

“If need be we can explain stuff to patients, medical posters and diagrams at times confuse and scare the weak hearted. Paintings and soothing interiors on the other hand are chosen with the idea to relax the mind. Patients these days need to be carefully explained and told every detail about the procedures and treatment suggestion so that they don't imagine things. Delicate cases need special attention and that's what modern treatment is all about,” says gynaecologist Dr. Durga Rao.