Mon, 06 Mar 2000

RSCM needs better, informative directory signs

By Maria Endah Hulupi

JAKARTA (JP): The lack of directory signs and their improper placement at Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital often causes inconvenience to both patients and visitors.

The confusion has led to criticism of the hospital's management for its poor signs.

A number of visitors interviewed by The Jakarta Post over the weekend admitted that despite a number of existing directory signs on the walls, they were not helpful in that they still needed to ask people directions.

They complained that the existing boards were not strategically located and were not as informative as they should be to lead people along the hospital's winding corridors.

The state hospital, popularly called RSCM, is located on Jl. Diponegoro, Central Jakarta. It accommodates 24 specialized health services in its 134.672 square-meter building complex.

According to data published in 1997, the hospital admits an average of 51,200 people annually.

Agus, an employee of a private company, who was at the hospital to visit his friend, said he had problems finding his way to the hospital's burns unit.

"It took me half an hour to go from the emergency unit to the burns unit and I had to stop twice to ask for directions before I found it," he said.

He explained that the unit was located in the middle of a long hall but since the directory was almost hidden from view, it made it difficult to find the unit from the intersection.

"It would be helpful if the management provided some sort of comprehensive map placed at strategic locations, showing people where they were and which direction to go in," Agus said.

Another visitor, Muhammad, 54, whose grandson was being treated at the hospital's pediatrics unit, said the situation was made even worse because the existing directory boards did not give enough information.

He said he entered the hospital through the emergency unit and spent some time roaming about the hospital. "I walked along the hall in front of the medical records section. I saw a directions board but I was still not sure which direction to take," he said, pointing at an intersection in front of the urology unit.

Confusion finding units tired old people like him, he complained, saying he frequently had to sit and rest.

"It is a long hall. Unless I walked halfway along it, I would not know the location of the pediatrics unit," he added.

Meanwhile, another frustrated visitor, Sugiharto, said that, according to his experience, the best way to find the correct direction was to ask the hospital's employees.

Sugiharto, who was at the hospital to visit a friend, said on the first day he went to the hospital, he decided to ask directions from a girl whom he assumed was a hospital worker as she was pushing a stretcher.

"After carefully following her guidance, I still ended up in the wrong place," he said.

He suggested that visitors go to hospital senior staff in order to get reliable information. "Otherwise, they won't get to the place they are looking for."

Kusnadi, a cleaning service worker at the urology unit, said people should go to hospital staff and ask for directions.

"Any information regarding the location of the hospital's various facilities given by people who do not work at the hospital may mislead visitors. This is a big hospital and many people often lose their way in its large compound."