Jun 03, 2020
One simple but highly important factor when creating a patient room whiteboard is sizing. How large (or small) can the whiteboard be for it to act as an effective communication tool? While standard sizes are available, custom sizing can be manufactured, eliminating most of the sizing limitations that might be faced when choosing the right dry erase board for a room. Even with the sizing limitations lifted, there generally will be an “ideal size” for a whiteboard based on the room’s layout and design.
When sizing a whiteboard for your facility, begin with these design and treatment considerations.
The greatest challenge faced when sizing a whiteboard are the limitations of the room. Wall space can be in short supply in patient rooms due to the room’s design, the other devices and the type and amount of treatment tools already present. Everything from windows and doorways to televisions and phones, outlets, cabinets, switches, buttons, and more can compete with a whiteboard for available wall space.
This is the greatest limiting factor for whiteboard sizing and placement but once it is overcome, sizing a board becomes significantly easier. To find out the space limitation you are working with, locate the ideal wall within a patient room where the board will be placed — it will ideally be within view of the patient’s bed and close enough so that the board is legible while the patient is sitting or lying down. Once this area is located, find out the maximum width and height measurements that the board can be without obstructing any other items or obstructions on the wall.
This will give you the maximum size that the whiteboard can be.
The amount of information fields placed on the board will ultimately determine its size, as whiteboard sizes will need to increase in order to maintain legibility for patients. Because whiteboard space is limited, it’s important to choose only the most useful fields that can be used to treat or communicate with a patient. Less important fields that care teams and patients will not interact with can needlessly increase the size of a whiteboard and limit where it can be placed in patient rooms.
If wall space (and thus whiteboard sizing) is limited, prioritize whiteboard information fields before beginning to focus on the layout of the whiteboard. Separate information fields into two categories: necessary and unnecessary; necessary fields are those that must be placed on the board, while unnecessary fields are those that are desired but can be left off the design. This will help you begin to size your board based on the information that will be used.
While graphics and fonts can be printed onto every square inch of a whiteboard’s surface, there is still a section of space on each whiteboard that is generally considered unusable. This space includes the margin (outermost area) of the whiteboard as well as the space that will most likely be used for logos, patterns and other design elements that make the whiteboard more aesthetic and allows it to fit into the theme of a facility.