Finding and buying furniture for exam rooms, waiting rooms, and other healthcare environments is crucial. These spaces are home to people who give and receive care. To get the best out of your investment, furniture must be durable.
Chris Breaux, Senior Mgr Vertical Markets provides insights and tips to assist with this specialized purchase. His advice will help you find the right items to stretch your healthcare furniture budget and offer comfort.
Invest right the first time
Healthcare furniture is meant for heavy-duty tasks. Healthcare furniture must be easy to clean, withstand commercial wear and tear, and have standards that are higher than traditional furniture. Healthcare furniture must be able to safely and comfortably accommodate different sizes. Healthcare chairs can be used 24/7, meaning that they can be used around the clock, rather than eight hours for a standard chair.
Healthcare-grade furniture is more expensive than traditional items. This makes it tempting to buy older pieces to save money. Breaux says that sometimes buyers are tight on budget and have to replace 10 chairs. They buy more furniture for healthcare because it is more costly. They must replace the furniture every two years and purchase new furniture.
Breaux suggests that executives bring in an expert, such as an ergonomist and other specialist to make the case for a larger budget.
Attention to the details
When you decide to purchase healthcare-grade furniture, ensure you are getting the correct materials for each part. A common mistake is to choose a piece of furniture that is healthcare-grade but then inadvertently select traditional-grade finishes. This is because the fabric and materials won’t withstand the daily wear and tear in waiting rooms or exam rooms. Cleaning solutions used in healthcare environments are often not suitable for traditional finishes.
Breaux states that “Healthcare architects as well as furniture designers understand the importance of choosing the right finishes and have seen an increase in their purchasing knowledge.” “But, smaller companies who aren’t healthcare specialists might not be able to choose the right product or fabric.”
This is a mistake that you should avoid.
Keep and replace furniture
While healthcare facilities are focused on people, maintaining furniture in good condition is important to ensure optimal care. Tears, cracks, and other degrading can pose a danger in a healthcare setting. Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey (HCAHPS), reveals that patients are more likely to notice wear and tear in healthcare environments.
Breaux offers two suggestions for buyers to maximize the lifetime value and enjoyment of a purchase. He recommends that you prevent undue wear by ensuring cleaning crews are familiar with the manufacturer’s care instructions. Some fabrics and finishes cannot withstand bleach treatment, which is a common component of healthcare environments.
Breaux recommends furniture that can be replaced in small pieces instead of the whole piece. These “100% renewable” furniture items allow you to remove, replace, and re-zip a chair cover rather than purchasing a new one.
Make sure you check the warranties that come with furniture you buy. Most healthcare furniture manufacturers offer a limited five- to seven-year warranty on items. Most replacements are made to an item’s part, such as the arm or back of a chair. You can make the most of your furniture investment by anticipating how it will be used and cleaned.