As you know, medical facilities traditionally have set clear boundaries between patient care areas, staff amenities, and procedural rooms. But as ambulatory services have become more common, a new emphasis on flexible healthcare spaces has emerged. The pandemic also highlighted the need to quickly adapt rooms to different uses.
And no matter what’s happening in a given room, it must be inclusive and accessible — yet easily sanitized or quarantined. All these requirements point to an inevitable shift toward modular, person-centric healthcare spaces.
That can be a challenge when facilities have only large, inflexible clinical spaces. Often, these rooms are underutilized and unable to accommodate certain aspects of patient care.
So, how can healthcare organizations convert these facilities for greater comfort and efficiency?
Digital technology has transformed the entire world, and healthcare is no exception. “Smart” healthcare facilities feature Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity throughout, allowing a smooth flow of information between patients and staff.
Especially with the rise of walk-up care and self-service, patients expect instant access to technology. This shapes their overall perception of a space.
For example, waiting areas should support that feeling of connection. Ideally, they’re oriented toward information access points. They flow into caregiving areas with minimal barriers rather than seeming isolated and uncaring.
In a medical context, technology includes more than connectivity. Medical devices must be easily accessible, but not at the expense of a comfortable aesthetic. Patients may feel intimidated when they enter a care space that’s brimming with equipment.
Healthcare spaces can mirror the comforts of home with wood-look paneling and finished cabinetry. These elements conceal medical technology until it becomes necessary. When digital screens are well-integrated, the result is a more cohesive, person-centric healthcare environment. Research suggests this may improve patients’ perception of their care quality.
Invest in Human-Friendly Furniture
Furniture in healthcare facilities can seem secondary to the medical equipment. When you need ample square footage for machines and monitors, everything else gets relegated to the side.
For decades, clinical spaces have been organized around procedures rather than people. This had led to oft-inflexible designs, such as built-in cabinetry and workstations far away from patient care areas. However, a new approach is emerging.
Healthcare facilities are now embracing layouts that can be cordoned off or opened up as necessary, with decentralized, adaptable furniture. Nurses can update patient information from mobile workstations rather than running back and forth from a central nurse station. This spares them precious time and physical strain.
Arguably the most important type of furniture is seating. It’s crucial to both patient comfort and staff efficiency, from waiting areas to triage zones to care rooms. Good seating allows caregivers to easily access patients. For example, traditional healthcare facilities will have separate chairs for treatment, recovery, and consultation. This new approach to inclusive, person-centric design imagines a chair that could do all three.
For example, Champion’s Alō Recovery is a luxury medical recliner that accommodates IV poles, oxygen tanks, and even personal items. Its swing-away arms and side table allow nurses to check vitals and perform other crucial tasks. Yet the chair is comfortable enough for patients to remain there during consultations or family visits.
Orient Clinical Spaces for Communication
When we compare traditional healthcare designs to the modern, person-centric approach, we see that space isn’t always a good thing. Patient rooms are laid out rigidly, with the primary function being procedure rather than comfort. Visitor chairs are off to the side, while patient beds sit tightly against the wall. The arrangement is passively task-focused rather than optimized for conversations among patients, staff, and loved ones.
By comparison, modern patient room design places the bed next to cushy visitor seating and ample natural light. A recliner lets doctors converse with patients at eye level, which can help alleviate their anxiety. The mobile workstation can be positioned wherever needed. Plus, wood-look vinyl flooring adds a warm touch.
To make patient care areas more welcoming and inclusive, place all furniture and amenities on angles. This layout allows multiple sightlines for better communication. It also creates an opportunity for the room to be adapted to accommodate various procedures — or even a large group of visitors.
By the same token, all patient educational materials and display screens should be visible from their bed or chair. Placing furniture at angles creates a more dynamic feel that still allows staff to move around the room efficiently. Ideally, the furniture itself is curvilinear for a homier feel. For example, Champion’s Vero recliner features rounded armrests in a modular design, allowing it to adapt to any clinical space.
Champion’s Medical Furniture Supports an Efficient, Comfortable Healthcare Environment
The key to transforming and elevating clinical spaces is to put the patients and staff first. This approach depends on seamless technology integration, flexible layouts, and modular furniture to make it all possible.
At Champion, we’ve designed our medical recliners and patient seating solutions with luxurious comfort in mind. Our innovative designs also support the nursing staff’s ergonomic and logistical needs. With this combination of form and function, we’re helping healthcare organizations truly modernize their facilities.