Linda Porter Bishop

Things

Furniture selection for hospitals and clinics is a curious thing. That finished-project-mental image that every designer carries through the life of the project includes furniture. And no one includes ugly furniture in their vision.The challenge in healthcare design is having furniture that meets the needs of the users and looks beautiful. Some argue that only the patient room needs ‘real’ healthcare furniture. But patients go everywhere in a hospital–they wait in waiting areas before day-surgery, they visit the family lounge, they walk to the cafeteria, they sit in the outdoor garden, they pray in the chapel. Selecting appropriate furniture can be an integral part of a hospital’s Infection Control program by having a ‘clean-out’ feature at the back of the seat, a durable finish for exposed wood areas or a smooth upholstered surface that can be easily cleaned. Or it could address Patient Safety concerns because it has an arm and seat height that is appropriate for individuals who may be older, pregnant, or a little unsteady on their feet due to medications or a recent procedure. If the frame is open in front, the user can firmly plant their feet on the floor before they try to lift themselves out of the chair; well-designed furniture could contribute to a reduction in patient falls. There might be comfort features that address the special needs of healthcare environments: like a higher back to rest a weary head for spaces known to have long waiting periods like a Labor and Delivery unit or a Surgery Waiting Room. So, yes, we all want furniture that is beautiful, but in healthcare, its got to work.

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“Embrace” for Carolina, by the Bishop+Dates Collaborative

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