Ergonomics are vital with medical furniture, which is regularly used by people suffering multiple aches and pains.
Keys to Comfort
Ideal waiting-room medical furniture is neither too hard nor too soft. Stiff, unpadded seats rub aching muscles the wrong way and impede blood circulation. Overstuffed chairs put extra strain on the back muscles and require unnecessary effort for weakened or obese patients to rise from. Being bulky to move and hard to sanitize, overstuffed furniture is also impractical in regard to office maintenance.
When choosing seats for your waiting room, remember that many patients are pregnant or obese. It’s extremely important to have well-built furniture, rated for commercial use and capable of supporting regular heavy weight. And since heavy people are also wide people, avoid the narrower individual chairs.
Given the many contagious germs that pass through a medical waiting room, most patients prefer individual seats to the long bench variety. Avoid furniture or arrangements that may force strangers into physical contact.
To further reduce spread of germs, keep all furniture surfaces as cleanable and microbe-resistant as possible. Vinyl and polypropylene are recommended for seat covers. Choose the smoothest, most break-resistant surfaces available; cracks and crevasses breed bacteria.
Appearance Counts, Too
A balance of soft and warm shades is the best color scheme for medical furniture: bright, gaudy tones are agitating, and dark colors have a funereal rather than a healing effect. And without patches of brightness and some color variation, your waiting room will have a tense “sterile” impression.
Look for designs and fabrics that will last a long time without becoming worn or dingy. For desks and staff chairs, avoid anything that towers over patients. Think carefully: what furnishings will do the best job of assuring patients they will be welcomed with courtesy, understood as individuals, and given the best possible help in healing?
A Note on Furniture Arrangement
Too many people buy furniture because it looks good in the showroom, without considering how it will fit into the office they’ll be bringing it to. How big is your waiting room, and how will you fit the furniture in while maintaining an uncluttered appearance? Remember, medical furniture is used in settings where people require greater-than-average space to maneuver; yet few patients feel comfortable pressed against the walls.
Consider also that your practice may expand or relocate in the future. Choose furnishings that look good in a variety of settings and are easy to add to while keeping the layout congruent.
In the Exam Room
Most of what’s been said on waiting room furniture applies equally to exam rooms. Just remember that the size and furnishings of the room should suit the length of the average consultation. And even in the smallest exam room, always include at least one chair for patient seating. Few patients enjoy sitting on an exam table for any length of time.
Give us a call at Cubicle World and we’ll advise you further on how medical furniture can change your work environment. Cubicle World supplies furniture for all needs.
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