The Importance of Patient-Centered Design in Healthcare Furniture

The Importance of Patient-Centered Design

In any given healthcare facility, most equipment and tasks are geared toward treating patients. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always extend to the overall design and aesthetic. For decades, people have associated medical spaces with discomfort and restriction. There’s a reason why the word “clinical” also means “coldly detached.”

The industry is shifting toward patient-centered design, which emphasizes human needs and comfortable convenience. Furniture crafted with these principles in mind is more intuitive and accessible. Here’s why that’s critical to better patient outcomes and experiences, especially in an era of emerging diseases and nuanced medical needs.

Image of waiting room with comfortable patient centric seating

Make the Right Impression with Comfortable Reception Seating

As soon as a patient enters a healthcare facility, they begin assembling a complete mental picture of their experience. They’re often under heavy stress, which is why it’s critical to make them feel as welcome and supported as possible.

Reception areas or waiting rooms are notoriously uncomfortable. But patient-centered healthcare designers are creating a much-needed shift in reception seating. From a friendly aesthetic to comfy materials, the right chairs help patients feel less anxious. Even subtle details such as earth hues and broad armrests can make a difference. They remind people of home, which creates a positive, healing vibe. And when people are comfortable, they’re not as bothered by the wait. The less they perceive the wait time, the higher their trust and satisfaction with their provider.

Image of one of the Champion Chairs in a patient room

Universal Design in Healthcare Supports Dignity and Comfort

Amidst a rise in obesity, medical furniture designers must accommodate larger body sizes. Many traditional designs failed to provide adequate support. In the past, patients above a certain weight had to use different chairs or stretchers that often stood out like a sore thumb.

In the interest of protecting their dignity, medical seating now embraces universal design. A product must integrate seamlessly with its environment without discriminating against users. Moreover, it should accommodate the broadest possible spectrum of needs. For example, Champion’s 56 Series looks similar to our other medical recliners but offers power-lift, breakaway arms, and a reinforced structure for bariatric patients.

Healthcare provider helping patient in chair

Connecting Patients and Providers With Cohesive Healthcare Design

Person-centered design not only accommodates all patients but encourages their use of all fixtures. For example, there’s little benefit in clothing hooks or comfortable chairs if they’re off to the side or blocked off. Healthcare facilities must create an egalitarian presence, meaning that all furniture, tech, and amenities are accessible. This is especially important in patient rooms, where families and caregivers need to share the space.

In patient-centric healthcare design, communication is vital and everyone deserves an equal opportunity.  Traditional beds, seating, and task tables may obscure lines of sight, causing a sense of division or restriction. Adjustable furniture helps patients, providers, and relatives meet at eye level and easily review computer screens and other technical elements.

That leads to another consideration: how clinical spaces can meet everyone’s needs, no matter their cultural or sociodemographic group. Human-friendly patient room furniture is the key.

Health care professional helping patient sitting in Champion chair

Patient-Centered Design is Inclusive Design

As part of a recent emphasis on diversity and inclusion, healthcare facility designers are making patient spaces more culturally sensitive. Some cultures embrace extended families who want to gather and assist their sick relatives. Traditional furniture and layouts can be restrictive, but patient-centric design allows everyone to interact comfortably.

Instead of crowding rooms with sofas and large furniture, multi-purpose seating such as Champion’s 526 series creates breathability while allowing patients to connect with their loved ones. And sometimes, medical areas feel safer when they’re more intimate. Privacy screens offer a modular solution to rearrange care spaces.

Patient-centric features also create an overall feeling of equity. By their very nature, human-friendly elements prove that the space is welcoming and inclusive. As we collectively strive to reduce healthcare inequalities related to gender, class, ethnicity, or body type, person-centered design is more important than ever.

Male health care provider helping child in a Champion Chair

Champion Furniture Puts Patients First

Healthcare facilities are adapting to these new paradigms by creating flexible, human-friendly spaces wherever possible. However, it’s rarely as simple as knocking out a wall or updating the paint colors. Furniture is a unifying force. It’s a critical part of patients’ tactile and visual experience, so it must support their comfort and needs above all else.

Champion’s seating solutions, task tables, and privacy screens are all designed to be modular and patient-centric, especially when space is at a premium. From power-lift and reclining features to bariatric support, our furniture keeps the person in mind while supporting a wide variety of equipment and tasks. Most importantly, it encourages well-being and emotional safety — both of which are vital to better patient outcomes and experience.

Browse Champion’s collection of patient-centric products now.