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As well as providing seating and respite to patients, visitors, and staff, healthcare furniture needs to be tough, durable and easy to keep clean. But when patients with dementia are to be catered for, extra thought is required.
Healthcare furniture and colour coding
Dementia sufferers get disoriented and confused very easily. They can find themselves in a dining room, for example, and suddenly not know where they are… or why. That’s not something you’ll be surprised to read. What you may not know, though, is that a careful use of colour can help mitigate this. Often dementia patients can, without being aware of this, still associate colours with different aspects of living. So, if bathrooms are a certain colour, whenever they see that colour they know there’s a toilet. The fabrics and colours used in healthcare furniture in different rooms, therefore, can really contribute towards reducing this problem.
Healthcare furniture design
Obviously furniture used in healthcare needs to be durable and well-made. And it needs to be robust and stable too. But there are some softer finishing touches that make a piece of furniture more appropriate for a healthcare setting. Take rounded corners, for example. Large handles on drawers. And snag-free edges.
Furniture with raised legs (ie. not solid panels) also has a positive impact on the lives of dementia patients. Anything that helps light flow round a room, and reduces heavy shadows, is a bonus. But there is another gain to this type of healthcare furniture design. Carers can get their feet under a piece of furniture and gain more leverage to lift a patient. That really helps to reduce back injuries and falls because they can manage their centre of gravity better.
However, interestingly, chairs with closed sides work best. Healthcare residents will often place things on their laps whilst they’re sitting. If there’s a gap each side, these items can slip off very easily. Keeping them enclosed helps to make their life easier, therefore, and reduces the risk of them falling off if they have to reach to pick something up.
Healthcare furniture materials
It’s really important that surfaces are easy to wipe clean – regularly. The easy-upkeep of furniture matters. Heavily grained woods and complex material patterns are also best avoided. They’re confusing to the eye at the best of times, but to a dementia sufferer they can be really bewildering.
Healthcare furniture, whilst needing to be hardwearing for the sake of durability, also needs to be solid enough to bear weight too. Often dementia sufferers will need to lean on a piece of furniture in order to sit down. The item needs to be designed in a way, and heavy enough therefore, not to tip. Light aluminium chairs aren’t going to cut it!
If that’s given you a good sense of how much we understand about furniture used in a care setting, please do get in touch! We’d be delighted to chat with you about your requirements!