How Designers Prioritize Safety When it Comes to Furniture

While furniture needs to be functional within healthcare facilities, it also needs to be safe.

By Mackenna Moralez

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities can be stressful environments for patients, residents, visitors or staff. There are always concerns about comfort and safety. While comfort is one of the main priorities when it comes to furniture choices in these facilities, they also have to be safe for anyone that uses them. In this manufacturer roundtable, Healthcare Facilities Today talks with furniture producers on how they are making their products safer for those who use them the most. 

How do furniture decisions impact worker safety? What about patient safety? 

“Strenuous, non-ergonomic work environments contribute to musculoskeletal issues and higher rates of employee dissatisfaction. Providing caregiver comfort is often overlooked, but it is essential when supporting our caregiver community and ensuring their safety. 

Offering a suite of products that make it seamless for caregivers to quickly pivot from one task to the next enables employees to keep their focus on the patient while maximizing their comfort. So, providing a caregiver with a moment of respite with a cart that offers a simple footrest to alter their posture for a few seconds might seem like a simple consideration, but is a welcomed bit of comfort for a worker who is unable to sit for long periods at a time.” 

— Steven Bramson, president, Innovative Ergonomic Solutions, parent company of HAT Collective Healthcare 

“With regard to safety, furniture decisions affect all users. Skillfully specifying appropriate furniture must be done by experienced design professionals who have a depth of understanding of user need, application and the level of daily use and abuse that may take place in a given setting.” 

— Suzanne Fawley, behavioral health interior designer, Stance Healthcare 

“According to research from McKinsey and Company, over 400,000 nurses left the profession in 2018, reporting burnout as the reason for their departure. Providing spaces for efficient, effective and safe work is of primary importance to nursing, as well as other professionals in the health environment. Furniture is a part of that decision process for healthcare systems – providing places for focused work, such as dictation or telemedicine; as well as team spaces for collaborative engagements with colleagues improves safety, and satisfaction, for caregivers.” 

— Kimberly Montague, executive director of research and partnerships, Kimball International 


Mackenna Moralez is the assistant editor with Healthcare Facilities Today

April 27, 2022

Topic Area: Interior Design

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