Heavy Duty furniture

 

When specifying a Behavioral Health facility, some key questions should be asked to ensure the furniture going into the space is right for the caregivers, patients, and facility. Speaking with caregivers and staff often proves to be the best way to get answers since they're well aware of any facility concerns.

Q: Where will the product be placed? 
A: Every facility has its own unique needs, so it is a good starting point to ask which rooms or areas need furniture. In asking this question, you can also determine what kind of functionality is required. 

Q: Are the areas where furniture is required, supervised, semi-supervised or unsupervised? 
A: Gaining insights into the type of supervision of the space will determine which product will fit best in the room. It's common for a supervised area to use fabrics and upholstery to bring a warmer aesthetic and less institutional look. Alternatively, for an unsupervised area, a roto-molded product offers a safer solution. Not only is the material optimal for infection control, but roto-molded products are durable. 

Q: What are the ligature risks? 
A: A ligature concern is when ropes, cords, bed sheets, or other fabric material can be looped or tied to create a sustainable point of attachment that may result in self-harm or loss of life. Different facilities may have a higher level of concern for this safety risk than others; therefore, it is essential to understand if this is high priority so that it can be addressed up-front. Many products designed for behavioral health facilities aim to reduce ligature risks by removing tie-off points.  

Q: How high is the potential for abuse or violent activity? 
A: The potential for abuse in a facility will vary depending on the type of treatment a patient is seeking to the area of the facility where the patient is situated. Even in semi-supervised or supervised areas, where patients are watched closely, incidents can happen. If the potential for violent activity is high, offering products that are weighted, have reduced pick-up points, are ganged or fastened to the floor, and have tamperproof fasteners go a long way to providing a safer environment. 

Q: What considerations are needed for patient comfort? 
A: The comfort level that the product provides to the patients is an essential question to answer, and what is required to achieve that comfort will be unique to each use case. For example, in an eating disorder clinic or a dementia ward, softer foam density may be required for patient comfort. Whereas in a facility that treats PTSD, calming colors and subtle patterns may comfort the user. Always remember comfort is subjective to the patients within the facility and should be discussed with the facility during the planning process. It is important to remember that while aesthetics are a vital part of the healing process, product features and benefits supersede aesthetics in behavioral health. 

Q: Do the caregivers and staff at the facility want to be able to move furniture around regularly or have limited or no movement? 
A: If the answer to the question above is no movement or limited movement, finding a product that can be ganged or fastened to the floor is necessary. If the facility requires frequent movement of furniture, roto-molded products that are lightweight allow for moveability but cause less damage if they are misused.

Q: What is the patient demographic of the facility? 
A: Address this question early on in the project to determine whether the correct product is specified. A senior will have different needs than an adolescent in terms of furniture and comfort. Another consideration is that some facilities have a range of age groups under one roof. Finding a solution that works for all is optimal and provides design continuity. An important takeaway is that no application is the same. Each facility will have its unique concerns and needs. End-users often have the most knowledge of what is needed. It is recommended to involve a wide range of individuals in the facility early on in the process to ensure the best result in the end.