Recently the furniture world has experienced a wave of useful innovation. Superior design and attention to detail is filtering down to furniture. While it is happening in all market sectors, the most dramatic expression of innovation seems to be in healthcare product. Here are just a few examples of some excellent healthcare furniture innovations that, combined with design expertise, cannot only make your medical environment more attractive but more highly functional and safer.

Multifunctional Sleepers – The trend in real estate of reduced footprints, more compact work spaces, multifunctional equipment to optimize available space and use of vertical space is completed at the furniture level. This patient room “family zone” goes from 3 seat sofa with two recliner units to computer work or gaming center to fold out single bed with an easy to use pneumatic lift controlled with one touch.

Recliners – Recliners are not what they used to be – no longer clunky and awkward; most recliners come in wall saver styles that allow you to recline without relocating the seating away from the wall.

Some like this Wieland Cove recliner are designed with thoughtful standard features like recessed levers and caster locks to prevent wall damage, wood or urethane arm caps with easy grip forms, base molded bumpers for wall protection, faux feet to enhance appearance and 360° caster turning radius for tight space maneuverability. This piece has 2 recline positions, a sleep position, and a trendelerburg (feet higher than head) position. Options are a flip table, a retractable foot rest, a push bar, an IV pole, and a Foley bag hook. It is completely renewable (recoverable in the field) and attractive.

Some recliners include an option for a transfer arm along with lots of other options so non-ambulatory patients can be transferred from a wheelchair.

Space Saving – Here is a folding guest chair (Wieland Plyfold) accommodating family and visitors in any patient setting, with lots of upholstery options and its own storage rail that can be installed behind an entry door. When not in use it takes zero additional floor space.

Even office cubicle footprints can be compacted without loss of storage or function by utilizing specialized storage, vertical real estate (overheads) and wall surfaces. This rotary storage unit is double sided and swivels optimize by using vertical space. The space conserving unit holds the equivalent of 3 standard lateral drawers and is outfitted with locking drawers, shelves for binders/supplies, and a wardrobe tower. Storage on one face swivels to a clean surface when not in use and to an additional storage side with filing drawers.

Filing and pharmaceuticals can be stored in high density systems that open up valuable people space, help with HIPAA compliance, and provide critical organization of spaces utilized by multiple staff members.

Modular – Modularity is huge in medical office innovation and a whole separate world of product. The idea is to reduce long term waste and costs while increasing flexibility and consistency. Investing in modular units that can be rearranged or relocated to keep up with the ever changing innovation in medical office and patient care is a life cycle judgment, but often the modular furniture that can be relocated or rearranged is less than traditional millwork from the beginning. Featured here are some ideas from the Steelcase Nurture Opus series and Herman Miller for modular patient care areas, office, and reception areas. Casework as furniture may offer many advantages, one of which is it is depreciated as furniture, not part of your built environment. You will need to carefully consider the attributes of a modular system before investing, but here are a few options for caregiving, office, and reception environments.

There are numerous mobile cart and table options on the market to accommodate caregivers with substantial height adjustability and functional ranges from phlebotomy to mobile charting with laptop security. Shown here are Steelcase Nurture produces for caregiver use and an over bed table for both patient and caregiver use.

Details – Modular office systems will come with a vast array of accessories designed to increase function within your desking realm. There are display surfaces tool on slat systems to accommodate shelving and small office accessories, height adjustable monitor arms, personal heaters and fans, keyboard trays and mouse pads, pelican space saving drawers, hangers, and under surface energy efficient lighting fixtures. Pretty much anything you need to outfit your workspace to fit your work style.