When it comes to selecting reception seating for your healthcare facility, be sure to take very specific features into consideration in order to meet the needs of medical patients, visitors and staff alike. The furniture in your waiting room can prove to be just as important as the exam tables in your patient rooms, especially if you’re working in an emergency hospital or specialty medical facility. Stay on the lookout for products that work together holistically to improve the experience for patients, loved ones and staff. Make sure that your reception area flows together smoothly and consistently to provide a space where everyone in the room can feel safe and at ease.
Upholstery: Infectious disease control is the number one priority that healthcare seating should provide. When selecting chairs for your medical waiting room, take the upholstery into consideration and ask yourself the following questions:
- Will this upholstery be time-consuming or difficult to clean?
- Will this upholstery trap in odor and germs?
- Will this upholstery be uncomfortable for patients and visitors to sit in for long periods of time?
- Will this upholstery succumb to wear and tear quickly?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then the upholstery in question may not be the best choice for your medical waiting room. Healthcare upholstery should be easy to wipe clean so that it can be maintained throughout each day, so be sure to select fabric or vinyl without too many creases or small nooks that can trap in odor and bacteria. Chairs with waterfall seat edges are easy to wipe down in seconds, and antimicrobial vinyl is specially designed for keeping surfaces as clean as can be.
Make sure that the upholstery you choose is comfortable enough for guests to sit in for long periods of time, not stiff or scratchy. It should also be durable enough to last for years in your waiting room. Because you will be too busy caring for patients to worry about replacing your reception area furniture every year, select a durable fabric or vinyl option that will be able to stand up to frequent daily use.
User safety and support: Your reception seating should be able to support a wide range of users since you will have visitors of all shapes, sizes and needs visiting your care facility. Offer one or more bariatric options so that larger folks can feel welcome and provide a loveseat or sofa so that mothers and fathers can be close to their children while they wait. Chairs with 24/7 capabilities are ideal for emergency waiting rooms where constant use is required.
Make sure that the furniture you choose is not only comfortable for your guests, but easy to operate as well. Consider adjustable chairs that guests can customize to suit his or her needs or mobile chairs that can be moved from one end of the room to the other when needed. Chairs with tablet arms make filling out office forms much easier. Select chairs with thickly padded backs and seats that will reduce fatigue and strain on patients in walk-in clinics or family members and loved ones staying all night in the ER. After all, the family is often in just as much distress than the patient. Chairs should be durable enough so that patients can pull themselves up out of the seat by grabbing onto the chair arms and pushing themselves up.
Care provider safety and support: While patient and visitor care are key components of what makes healthcare seating healthcare seating, it’s also crucial to take the safety and comfort of your staff into consideration when selecting the best furniture. Due to the threat of discarded needles and other potentially dangerous items and substances, staff should not have to stick their hands anywhere that they cannot see. Clean-out chair backs eliminate the crevasse between the chair seat and back so that staff can clean down all of the chair surfaces and clearly see that there is no underlying danger. The reception furniture should also promote communication and collaboration between the visitor and the care provider. The nurse or doctor should be able to comfortably sit down next to the patient’s loved ones to let them know that patient’s medical status. Caregivers should also be able to assist patients into and out of the chairs easily.
Accessories and aesthetics: Accessories and aesthetics are smaller details that are often overlooked during the shopping process, but that could make a huge difference to patients and visitors who are nervous or uncomfortable being in a medical facility. Accessories such as IV poles, side tables, chair casters, moisture barriers and tablet arms all help to improve the user experience and make your guests’ visit a more comfortable one. Take the design of your waiting area into consideration when selecting your chairs and tables by selecting chairs in earth tones and matching tables to create a warm, inviting look that will feel more like home. The design of your reception area and the rest of your healthcare facility should promote healing and optimism, straying away from the traditional clinical look wherever possible.
The furniture in your healthcare facility’s reception area should serve a purpose, which will vary from one place to the next. You’ll want different reception furniture in different styles for different people for pediatric hospitals, the ER, mental health facilities and rehabilitation facilities, so be sure to take the needs of your patients into primary consideration before beginning the furniture shopping process.