The hospital’s appearance is an important and surprisingly often overlooked indicator of how the hospital functions. Look at the flooring. Are the carpets worn and dirty? Are the elevators polished and bright or do they look old, dingy and downright grimy? What do the public restrooms look (and smell) like? Are the hospital personnel well-dressed in proper uniforms? Is the signage appropriate and easy to read? Can you find your way around without assistance? Are the common areas bright and clean, with healthy plants and comfortable chairs? You can be pretty certain that if the hospital looks bad, the care probably will be, too. (The exception to this rule can be the downtown trauma hospitals in big cities. These often grungy places can be the best places to go if you have suffered some horrendous trauma, such as a gunshot, dismemberment, etc. In that case, you will hardly be noticing your surroundings. But, don’t go there to have your baby and expect a lovely environment!).