Anyone who has visited a hospital or doctor’s surgery recently is likely to have seen for themselves how healthcare furniture is changing. The working practices of staff, the impact of digital and web-based technologies and the weight of public expectation have all come together to influence adaptations to our modern welfare spaces. Architects and designers are constantly thinking again about how people use these settings and the versatile furniture that is needed to keep them on the move. In this article we look at furniture for an agile environment.
Thinking about what people do
Thinking about the types of tasks nurses, doctors and service staff do is an essential first step when designing agile working environments. For instance, by observing that nurses need to stay on their feet to check in patients and walk between different patient bays and treatment rooms, a designer might conclude that the furniture they use should be discreet with perch stools and wall hung desks and cabinets. That frees up movement and space too. If a particular health team thrives through collaborative working, a good supplier will suggest the organisation does away with some of its lone desks and private spaces and introduce sofas, shared meeting pods and mobile tables.
Mobility might be important to some health staff, but the needs of their patients might be very different. While a reception or nursing team are letting you know that they welcome furniture which can be adapted, moved and changed, their clients might be demanding firm and stable chairs and surfaces to lean on. Rooms and cubicles with moveable walls or storage cupboards with adaptable shelving might be suitable in one context within a hospital but not another. Some wards might work best with tables on wheels and beds on castors. Another setting might need heavy furniture with soft curved edges.
Think about technology
Twenty years ago, a mobile phone was a curiosity. Today the phone in our pocket runs our lives! There’s no point installing agile furniture if it doesn’t allow workers, patients and their visitors to link into power, an intranet or the web. Integrating accessible technology into the design and placement of furniture solutions is key to ensuring that a physical health environment functions well for everybody, even those whose jobs keep them on the move.
Healthcare furniture for an agile environment – where to find out more
We have experience of manufacturing healthcare furniture for specialised environments. If you’re specifying health centre furniture or if you’d like to discuss a healthcare or hospital project, please get in touch. Visit our healthcare furniture product range section to see how we may be able to help.