Sitting in Strength: Supporting a Healing Environment Through Furniture

Hospitals can be a place that provoke fear, anxiety and discomfort. So when we need to visit the hospital, the last thing that we want to think about — as we try to focus on our health and wellness — is whether or not our visit will be comfortable. Sometimes we need to stay for long periods of time, so it helps when the furniture is functional and comfortable. Likewise, it’s important for furniture that makes our visitors feel comfortable too. But can we just have a signature La-Z-Boy in the ICU? Not necessarily. In fact, the difference between furniture in healthcare environments versus in our home vary for a reason.

What’s the Difference?

While many pieces will serve a lot of the same functionalities in our home, furniture found in a hospital will typically need to meet different standards or requirements in order to be considered safe. Many pieces of furniture found in hospitals will also be ergonomically correct in order to promote comfort and safety. It’s important to remember that patients will have different requirements than visitors who come to your home. Healthcare professionals recognize and acknowledge these differences, such as the seriousness of a patient’s condition and pre-existing medical history. As a result, understanding these factors will allow them to determine why their new patient is in the hospital, and how long they need to stay. These details can influence the patient’s room, bed type and even the need of a chair or wheelchair to ensure they are comfortable and safe while they stay for tests — or potentially surgery.

Furniture Found in the Healthcare Industry

One of the most common pieces of furniture used in a hospital or long term care facility will be a standard hospital bed. Patients will need to rest while at the hospital, and many residents living in long term facilities will also spend a large amount of time resting. This is why beds have evolved so much as sleeping and rest are proven to promote faster healing and recovery. Whether they need to physically move the patient to a different room in the hospital, or simply change their position to elevate a portion of the body, hospital beds are well-known for their ability to reinforce wellbeing in medical settings, and enhance comfort.

In addition to beds, chairs also play an important role in the medical world. When a patient is able to leave their bed, but may not be healed enough to move on their own, a wheelchair is often the best tool for giving a patient independence and mobility. Wheelchairs are a necessity in any hospital.

Some other important pieces include tables that allow patients to eat from their bed. This results in a piece that is higher than a normal table, and may swivel to be used over a patient’s lap while they lie down and rest. Trolleys also are used to transport patients, move supplies, as well as  other equipment. This is similar to certain carts that may also move and hold surgical tools, materials and medicines so they don’t need staff to carry the supplies from room-to-room. Speaking of staff, don’t forget that office furniture is also needed in hospitals. Administrative staff fill hospitals to record information for doctors and nurses. This requires staff to sit, work on a computer and update files all the time. Everything from ergonomic office chairs to adjustable height workstations are considered becomes a necessity for working long hours in hospital reception.

Furniture may take the backseat to the many doctors, nurses and specialists who save lives in hospitals, but the right beds, tables and equipment are necessary, and play an important supporting character to recovery. Having the right pieces of furniture in a healthcare environment allows for quicker healing when they incorporate the right features. While simple, furniture is a silent hero in comfort and strength for patients around the world in need of medical care.  Without gurneys, wheelchairs, and even the decor used for waiting areas and visitors, hospitals would lack the definitive comforts we desire while sick, weak or knocked-down. Decorative furnishings like wall art, paint color and carpeting will also create comfort and make hospitals feel more intimate; yet the practical objects that influence patient care can never be undermined, and will continue to be indispensable in hospitals onwards into the future.