Medical facilities may carry risks for both patients and staff, from Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) to high-powered equipment. However, one less obvious risk factor emerges from moving patients around the facility.
Especially for inpatient and emergency care, staff must transfer patients from stretcher to chair to bed — and back again.
That’s a lot of strain for everyone involved. And each new piece of furniture or equipment could pose a barrier to efficiency and comfort.
The solution is a combination of more accessible facility design, ergonomic furniture, and innovative patient seating.
Designing Healthcare Facilities for Easier Movement
The more disjointed and sprawling the facility, the farther patients must travel for their procedures and recovery. They’re potentially far away from critical care, even when every second counts.
Nurses and other staff are also harmed by these inefficient layouts. If the space isn’t aligned with patient needs, caregivers must move furniture and equipment to make it so. Those repetitive strains increase their risk of musculoskeletal injuries — in addition to the risk they already incur from lifting and lowering patients. It’s no wonder that nurses have the second-highest number of repetitive-strain workplace injuries.
New trends in healthcare design emphasize multi-use, flexible spaces. This way, the patient doesn’t need to be transported such a long way. And if the treatment and recovery areas can overlap, that’s even less movement.
These layouts also promote greater staff efficiency. Workstations can be decentralized, which results in patients becoming the center of activity. That may reduce the need to constantly shuffle people and equipment around the facility — and therefore, the likelihood of injuries.
Closing the Gap Between Patients and Staff
The workplace injury rate for healthcare workers is twice the rate for all industries. Most of these injuries are musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) that emerge from frequent intense movements.
That’s all too common among nurses, techs, and clinical caregivers. Lifting, lowering, and turning patients puts strain on the back and legs. As healthcare workers may do those tasks hundreds of times per day, they’re at a high risk of MSDs — some of which can be quite debilitating.
In one study, patient transfers and lifts contributed to one-third of all MSDs among the staff. Patients themselves may get injured as well. There is a greater risk of slips and falls while moving patients from the bed to the stretcher, the bathtub to the bed, etc.
While some patient handling is inevitable, it does help to reduce the height that caregivers must bend or reach. Power-lift recliners and beds make a huge difference. And again, arranging clinical spaces for freer movement helps minimize the strain on the staff’s feet, legs, and back.
The easier it is to deliver patient care, the easier it is to perform tasks according to safety standards. Inefficiencies create risks. For example, it may be harder to properly disinfect areas if patient furniture is an obstacle. Poor sanitation increases the risk of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs).
So, an ergonomic environment helps prevent both injuries and HAIs while improving everyone’s comfort.
Rethinking Patient Seating and Bedding
Of course, if patients can remain in one place for most of their stay, there’s less need to bounce them among various treatment chairs and tables.
One of the most exciting aspects of modern healthcare design is the rise of multi-purpose, flexible patient seating. Rather than lifting patients out of a stretcher into a bed, what if caregivers could lay them on a single comfortable surface? That’s the concept behind the TMM Stretcher-Chairs, an innovative 3-in-1 device from Champion’s TransMotion collection. It seamlessly moves from imaging rooms to procedural areas to recovery wards.
Patients remain comfortable and both nurses and doctors can easily access them. Best of all, there’s less need to transfer them from one piece of furniture to another. That reduces the risk of injuries for everyone involved. Plus, it saves precious seconds in emergencies.
Champion Chairs Help Patients and Staff Stay Safer
Because healthcare facilities carry multiple risk factors, it takes a multi-faceted approach to mitigate those risks and create a safer environment for patients and staff. Inclusive, person-centered healthcare design makes a huge difference — and flexible 3-in-1 patient furniture can help!
Browse Champion’s selection of innovative stretcher-chairs now.