Quality seating is crucial for oncology patients, whether they’re receiving an hours-long chemotherapy treatment or recovering from surgery. Thankfully, healthcare designers have made great progress in person-centric design, which prioritizes human needs and creature comforts. Here’s what to look for when furnishing your oncology clinic.
Why Is Seating Design Critical for Patient Well-Being?
Designing furniture that’s both attractive and comfortable is already a challenge. But it’s even more difficult in a healthcare setting. Chairs must keep patients safe while allowing nurses and techs to access them. Ideally, the patient also feels as supported and relaxed as possible, and the caregiver isn’t straining their back trying to perform their tasks.
These challenges are even more pronounced in oncology clinics. Patients often must remain seated for hours at a time. As anyone who works a desk job knows, sitting for an extended period isn’t comfortable. Poorly designed chairs contribute to joint stiffness and poor circulation. Being confined to a rigid, unsupportive chair may very well detract from cancer patients’ recovery.
Helping Patients Sit Safely
When we sit down, our spine pushes downward into our pelvis. This increases the pressure between discs. The ligaments and tendons connecting our hips to our back receive more tension. Together, this can lead to chronic pain and nerve compression.
Patients who are receiving chemotherapy often must sit for extended periods. They need—and deserve—well-designed chairs to counteract negative side effects.
Adequate cushioning reduces the pressure on the hip joints, helping prevent circulatory issues.
Lumbar support decreases the strain on the lower back. It allows the spine to maintain its natural S-curve. This neutral position mitigates the extra disc pressure.
An adjustable reclining back offers a more restful position, further decreasing pelvic pressure. Reclining also helps patients avoid hunching, which can lead to overly tight chest and shoulder muscles.
Footrests and adjustable seat heights ensure the chair can be customized to each patient’s unique body proportions. Ideally, patients can rest their feet on a flat surface and have no less than a 90-degree bend in their knees.
Swing-away or folding arms or side panels allow patients to enter and exit the chair safely, even if they don’t have full mobility. As a plus, these features also help nurses tend to patients without having to reach around armrests.
Champion’s Ascent is a sturdy yet cozy recliner suitable for bariatric patients and equipped with extra cushioning.
Indeed, all medical seating must be accessible for patients with various mobility needs. It’s also important to consider the accessibility of the clinic area itself, such as ensuring sufficient space for wheelchairs and proximity to other necessary equipment.
Patient seating should also mitigate the risk of injury for patients and caregivers. Locking casters, non-slip surfaces, and ergonomic proportions all help keep people safe while receiving or providing treatment.
Improving the Oncology Clinic Experience
Besides the health risks of extended sitting, oncology patients also need special consideration for their emotional and mental wellness. Chemotherapy can be intensely uncomfortable, and patients may feel additionally stressed by a lack of privacy or independence.
Effective clinic design can help put patients at ease, but it all starts with seating solutions. A supportive chair not only minimizes sitting’s physical effects, but it also allows the patient to maintain control. Agency is crucial to preserving patient confidence and boosting mood. Modern patient seating might offer easy adjustment, built-in heat and massage, and USB ports.
For example, Champion’s Alō Treatment recliner offers an infinitely adjustable reclining back, optional swing-away arms, heat-and-massage, and personal-item storage.
This person-centric design also promotes greater clinical efficiency and better patient outcomes: Nurses and techs can focus on providing patient care rather than fussing with side tables or fetching personal items.
On that note, it’s worth repeating that medical seating should be easy to use, especially for patients who have limited mobility or dexterity. Features such as simple controls and easy-to-reach adjustment knobs can make a big difference.
When designers keep the focus on the person’s needs, it’s possible to balance clinical requirements with comfort features. For example, as oncology patients may be immunocompromised, it’s important that clinic seating is easily disinfected. A seamless aesthetic with antimicrobial, soft fabrics supports both hygiene and comfort.
Creating Better Oncology Clinics with Champion
Comfort, accessibility, safety, ease of use, and hygiene are all important features to consider for oncology seating. By prioritizing patients’ needs, healthcare designers can elevate the oncology experience with seating that pulls triple duty— comfortable, supportive, and safe.