Many people think that the selection & procurement of care home furniture is a fairly routine subject matter, but is it?
Well perhaps not, as the whole interior design and fit out of a care home is an integrated function that experience suggests should be tackled as a whole project. In fact, design for dementia should play a large part in the selection of nursing home furniture, as the needs of the elderly and sufferers of Alzheimer’s, both present and future, should be catered for in a safe secure environment, where care home furniture is just one small part of the overall needs to be met.
Care home furniture must firstly be robust and in particular supportive, stable, and solid, easy to see, age appropriate and the colour choice should contrast with the surroundings to ensure the LRV (Light Reflectance Value) is correct for the specific user audience. Now, just from that one line perhaps you can understand how critical the selection of care home furniture is, and the importance of the design and procurement professional’s knowledge of the product area.
With the needs of the elderly and dementia patients alike it is important to make sure all furniture for the care home environment is easy to use, so it must be familiar, comfortable and intuitive (easy to operate & to remember how to do so) it is not furniture for an ordinary home or a younger audience and must be treated differently.
“Seating can give visual variety, tactile stimulation, opportunity for increased socialisation.The provision of suitable seating for the aged population will not only increase their ability to function effectively and improve their comfort, but in the case of those…with dementia, will also reduce agitation and wandering behaviour.” - Wagland, Peachment, 1997.
The styles of care home furniture should reflect their users, and be of a recognisable shape, dressed in a plain fabric, arms contrasting with the seat helps positioning, in bright plain colours that contrasts with the floor. Ideally the user’s bottom should be flush with the back of the chair, with a flexed knee slightly forward of the front of the cushion. Care home seats should be of a correct height and width allowing easy access and exit, allowing the user to get firm back support and be able to touch the floor to stabilise themselves and feel safe.
Now here we have majored on the most common piece of care home furniture-the chair, but there are equal considerations to be accounted for with regard to tables, beds (very important in the care home facility) and other pieces of furniture that care home residents interact with.
At Catalyst Interiors we procure £millions of care home furniture, as part of our one stop interior design & fit out service, and our staff are trained in the selection and procurement of furniture suited to the specific needs of the elderly, vulnerable and dementia related needs. We are not furniture designers or manufacturers, we leave that to others, but we are experts in nursing home furniture selection and procurement, and as such involving us in this vital area of care provision can be extremely beneficial.