Outfitting and stocking a healthcare facility, whether a medical clinic, practice or an area of a large facility, requires the evaluation and planning of many different items. Medical equipment needs vary from practice to practice depending on the particular discipline or specialty involved.
While each type of healthcare facility needs different items, all practices share one need in common -- furniture. Healthcare furniture may not be at the top of your shopping list, but patient-friendly design and caregiver needs are to be considered when selecting furniture. Hospitality area furniture provides a first impression. Space planning should be well thought out. Will single seating be adequate? Maybe a few multi-seats may provide more seating taking up less space? Will seat height be an issue? Bariatric, patients with disabilities or elderly may need a seat height that is not considered standard to accommodate ease of seating and positioning. Furniture selection for patient rooms should consider specific needs as well. Will the need to accommodate family be addressed? Perhaps a sofa sleeper will provide a solution to this need. Will security be addressed? Should patient bedside cabinets have locks? Lighting to accommodate the patient and provide ease of use?
Here are some patient-centered considerations when choosing furnishings for your healthcare location.
What does the item look like? Is the color calming or will the hue make a patient or visitor more uneasy?
Sometimes designing your office around a particular theme provides a sense of cohesiveness, and finding the right look in furniture can tie it all together.
Most patients don't enjoy sitting in a waiting room. If your furniture is uncomfortable, this can make the wait seem endless. Providing comfortable seating can help improve the overall patient experience, their perception of your facility, and their demeanor towards your medical staff. Sometimes special needs must be taken into consideration. Will multi-functional use be needed? Seat height, arm rests, ability to charge personal devices?
Looks and comfort are great, but frequent furniture replacement is not ideal. Look for brands that are well built and have proven durability. Select furniture that can hold up to 400 lbs. Perhaps a bariatric piece of furniture that will accommodate up to 700 lbs. Since you will likely need to provide for different patient needs, select furniture that can handle use from small children to large adults. Select furniture that can offer replacement components. Should a seat or back or arm rest need to be replaced, it is far less costly to replace rather than replace the entire furniture piece.
Ease of Cleaning
While comfort is a key component in furniture selection, having furniture that can be easily cleaned is essential. No one wants to sit in a chair with a big stain on it. So avoid plush fabrics or untreated woven coverings that easily absorb liquids and retain stains. Instead, choose a surface that is made of a vinyl or is coated material that is stain resistant and long wearing. Is the space between the back and seat easily accessible for cleaning? Will debris and moisture get trapped?
Last, but certainly not least, your healthcare furniture must have the ability to be disinfected. This goes along with ease of cleaning, but goes one step further. Some materials have added antimicrobial properties while others may simply be easy to wipe down. It is imperative to have furniture that resists liquids and bodily fluids.
Learn more about healthcare furniture options that are available for your practice by talking with the equipment experts at Concordance Healthcare Solutions for skilled and experienced advice.