The healthcare sector has continued to bear the brunt of the pandemic since 2020. As hospitals worldwide are swamped with patients, discussing hospital furniture may seem frivolous and inappropriate. However, the pandemic has also taught us that hospitals need to be renovated and expanded. And while we discuss the expansion of healthcare centres, hospital furniture cannot be ignored. Furniture is a significant factor to consider because it influences a major part of a hospital’s functions.
Our blog takes an in-depth look into how the pandemic has influenced hospital furniture trends and how they will impact the patient experience. Let’s start with how furniture trends will change in the hospital waiting area.
No one knows how long the pandemic will last. It may be years before we ever get back to normal life, or this could be the new normal for forthcoming generations. In this scenario, we must scrutinize every area of the hospital, starting from the waiting area.
The pandemic has inevitably influenced healthcare design considerations for the foreseeable future. Hence, it is crucial to create waiting areas that adhere to physical distancing guidelines and offer enhanced cleaning capabilities. Healthcare furniture manufacturers have a unique opportunity to create such environments.
Let’s go back in time and recall how waiting areas looked in the pre-Covid period. Many hospitals had limited seating in rows with shared armrests. Not anymore. The post-Covid waiting room furniture will include:
Furniture that minimizes contact and gives more privacy. For example, a centre table in between three or four seats and the use of armless chairs.
Furniture made with easy-to-clean materials like metal frames, polyurethane arm caps, healthcare-grade fabrics and solid tops.
Mobile partitions and high-back chairs to create a barrier between people who are seated back to back.
Hand sanitizing machines, tissue dispensers, mask dispensers, recycling receptacles, and alcohol-based hand-rubs.
These aspects will likely be the trend in hospital waiting areas. After all, this area is where people spend a lot of time waiting for their turn to consult doctors.
As medicine-resistant superbugs become more of a threat, they drive major shifts in healthcare furniture trends. Another major driving factor is patient experience. Hospitals stop at nothing to gain patient loyalty by improving the patient experience. Here’s a look at the healthcare furniture trends from this perspective.
Right now, the prime focus is to incorporate infection prevention in furniture designs to fight against Healthcare Associated Illnesses or HAIs. As hospitals’ cleanability standards rise, infection control has greater importance. There is more focus on selecting the surface material, using antimicrobials, and upgrading cleaning processes. Going forward, hospitals will use furniture with the following features:
With the aim to make hospitals look less intimidating, designers are incorporating traditional home-like features to create a pleasant setting for patients and visitors. Besides, with so much turmoil going on, patients can recover and recuperate better in a homely atmosphere. A few potted plants, colourful framed photos and pictures, curtains, and draperies are just a few things that can add that homely touch patients yearn for. Hospital environments will continue to be designed to reflect the comforts and colour palettes of home. Woodgrain laminates and stone-like surfaces with a natural-looking appearance are expected to be popular.
Navigation or wayfinding is a must-have feature in hospital interior design. Some healthcare centres have an area that covers multiple city blocks. Wayfinding is the only way individuals can navigate huge, unfamiliar spaces. Different flooring patterns, colours, and designs are incorporated to create clear, simple, and distinct pathways. Wayfinding can also promote social distancing, which is a top priority in these times. In the near future, hospitals may integrate wayfinding by embedding technology into walls or creating wayfinding apps for patients and visitors.
With social distancing and isolation in practice, comfort and convenience in hospitals seem like a distant dream. But healthcare providers cannot ignore these factors, especially when it comes to furniture choices. With a little effort, hospitals can enhance ergonomics by providing:
Hospitals with the means to utilize the outdoors will do so to implement social distancing while maintaining a high standard of patient care. We can expect to see features like:
In the healthcare industry, the requirements for building a safe, healthy, and inclusive environment have changed significantly over the years. Though the immediate tendency is to think of indoor facilities, creating outdoor spaces for patients, staff, and guests is increasingly important. The latest trends in landscape design and healthcare architecture emphasize the use of site furnishings to create beautiful outdoor spaces that promote health and wellness.
We conclude our article by looking at the furniture that will be used in outdoor spaces in hospitals.
The use of benches will create space for people to take a quick break and catch a breath of fresh air. Providing multiple benches at regular intervals in areas where walking is encouraged or necessary provides ample opportunity for resting. It is recommended that benches have wide arms and centre arms to assist those with physical limitations in standing or sitting up.
Outdoor tables will be used to create alternative spaces for doctors to catch up with colleagues, have lunch, brunch, attend calls, or have a staff meeting. Most tables will either be fixed with bolted down seating or lightweight to facilitate easy lifting and sliding.
Bollards act like perimeter security to allow access or impose restrictions to areas used for ambulances and emergency services. Bollards can be installed temporarily or permanently to control entry and protect hospital buildings.
Installing trash receptacles is a growing need for hospitals. Guests need a safe place to dispose of used tissues, masks, and whatever else that’s not needed. Trash receptacles will be common at hospital entrances, exits, and parking lots.
What every hospital needs in the current scenario are the right furniture manufacturer who can provide healthcare furniture that’s Covid-compliant. The top priority right now is to make patients feel safe and welcome. Among many other things, having the right healthcare furniture with the right function and comfort will make a difference. Inspace Healthcare Furniture, Tamil Nadu, offers the largest variety of hospital furniture at affordable prices. We specialize in customizing the furniture to suit your hospital requirements. Call us to find the right furniture solution today!