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Selecting healthcare furniture and floor coverings involves much more than simply choosing
contemporary over traditional design or incorporating hot new color trends. Well-thought-out
interior design choices can make a difference in public perception, can positively impact the
environment and can even have an effect on patient healing.

Numerous studies have focused on the importance of design in healthcare. A recently released
report by the Center for Health Design, "The Role of the Physical Environment in the Hospital of
the 21st Century: A Once-in-a-Lifefime Opportunity",
( pdfs/role_hysical_env.pdf) recounts a project in
which a team from Texas A&M University and Georgia Tech poured over more than 600 articles
and reports to establish how hospital design can effect clinical outcomes. One key finding that is
making its way into healthcare design: dements of nature can distract both patients and visitors
from the challenges of treatment and can positively affect outcomes. The Center for Health
Design's Pebble Project research program, which was initiated in 2000, provides examples of
healthcare organizations whose facility design has made a difference in quality of care, as well as
their financial performance. Thus far, the Pebble Project has demonstrated that facility design
can improve the quality of care for patients; attract more patients; recruit and retain staff;
increase philanthropic, community, and corporate support and enhance operational efficiency
and productivity.

Steelcase Inc. (Grand Rapids, MI) has also conducted research that indicates that the healthcare
environment can help attract patients, inspire talented physicians and nurses, promote healing,
and even reduce the potential for medical errors. To better understand the connections between
critical issues affecting healthcare (overworked staff, the need to increase productivity,
regulatory compliance, etc.), and the needs of hospital staff, patients, and visitors, Steelcase
launched an extensive, four-phase research and design initiative over a four-year period. And
since nurses, physicians, administrators, visitors, and even patients play a critical role in the
process of healing, Steelcase conducted its research from a variety of perspectives, to best help
the healthcare industry have a positive impact on the way care is delivered through research-
based product applications. An article rifled "Building a healing environment" is available at 9613ac5e788d4ed78ea7347ea3ac9160.pdf.

Brad Dickey, Hill-Rom's operational marketing manager, healthcare furniture, provides these
pointers, "Specifiers (Purchasing Managers) should always keep the needs of the staff in mind
when specifying sealing products. Reliability, durability, utility and function should always be
the first consideration when determining the role of furniture.

"Once you have determined these specifications you can address style, design schemes and color.
These three factors require additional considerations such as patient psychological needs,
marketing/image of the hospital and staff recruitment and retention. These factors drive the
public perception of a hospital". He notes several factors to consider about the role of furniture in
a healthcare environment: attracting and retaining customers, patient and employee safety,
infection control, regulatory/safety standards, recruiting and retaining employees and room

Lounge furniture

The fight furniture in the waiting area of a healthcare facility can make a great first and lasting
impression on visitors. There is certainly no shortage of design, color, upholstery and other
options. Buyers should feel free to don their creative hats to evoke a unique look and feel for
their facility.

Nemschoff (Sheboygan, WI), which today focuses exclusively on healthcare furniture, has an
extensive collection of lounge furniture with a variety of single and multiple sealing options and
complementary pieces that can be used throughout the healthcare facility. These complete
furniture families can be mixed or matched for creative freedom. The family-owned company
recently launched its Pillow Back sofa as a trendy, yet classic-styled option for waiting rooms,
lobbies and lounges. Paul Nemschoff, regional sales director, notes that the Pillow Back sofa is a
reincarnation of a product from the company's original residential line circa 1950.

Hill-Rom (Batesville, IN) launched its Art of Care furniture line in 2004 and now offers styles
for design schemes from traditional to transitional to contemporary. The Art of Care line features
four family styles (Artisan, Metropolitan, Aero, and Opera) with offerings for lobbies, waiting
rooms, lounges and patient rooms. The comprehensive line includes visitor and patient chairs,
ganged and spanned seating, 3 Position Recliner, large capacity seating, occasional tables, and
bedside cabinets.

Brayton International (High Point, NC) has some very unique lobby options for healthcare
facilities that include benches and beam seating and even an undulating wave form, called the
Ripple Bench which was recognized with a Good Design award from the Chicago Athenaeum
Museum of Architecture and Design. The ultra-modern bench lets users choose their seating

Brandrud Furniture (Auburn, WA) provides lounge chairs, sofas, loveseats and a nice selection
of multiple seating options that are available in a variety of arrangements complete with
adjoining tables.

KI (Green Bay, WI) also provides a complete line of lounge chairs, multiple seating options and
other unique lobby seating choices.

Multi-function sleep furniture

Evidence continues to mount towards the healthy effects that visitors have on patients. In
response, manufacturers are providing more and more options for guests to stay overnight in the
patient room.
Nemschoff has made guest sleeping furniture somewhat of a specialty, and offers one of the most
comprehensive lines available.

Nemschoff's line of six different types of SleepOver[R] seating products includes two different
chairs, a sofa which extends out for multiple people to sleep on, and the new static footprint
SleepOver Flop Sofa, available in several versions and even custom widths. The Flop has
multiple seating positions and turns into a bed for a single person without extending into the
floor plan of the room. With a flip of the cushion you have a 78" x 28" antimicrobial sleep
surface. "With patient rooms getting smaller in certain areas, whatever you can do to leave a
static footprint is crucial", said Nemschoff. The Flop has storage options either in the arms or
underneath. The SleepOver 123 is a chair that opens up into a bed. "It has the smallest footprint
in the industry for a sleep over chair, yet has a generous sleep surface," said Nemschoff.

Brandrud Furniture offers some unique guest sleeping options for the patient room with its
Slumber chairs that pull out for a single-person sleep surface, as well as the Revive Guest Center
that is part of the Revive suite of patient room products. The Guest Center is a sofa that extends
to a sleep surface of 72" x 32" and includes a variety of convenient features to make guests feel
at home, including storage drawers, side tables and light receptacles.

"Family centered healthcare is becoming more the norm. We will continue to develop products
to help make that easier on the facility," said Lee Falck, president, Brandrud Furniture.

Patient chairs

Seating options for patients continue to take on additional features that aid in healing and help
them feel more at home.

Brandrud's Bloom Patient chair is a multi posture chair designed to provide an alternative
between a bulky, fully articulated recliner and the straight backed patient chair. The chair is
designed with a flex in the straight back for a less-restrained feel. A matching ottoman tucks
underneath the chair and has storage space. Integrated fold down arms allow the patient or
caregiver side access to the chair, which is a lower impact way of ingress and egress.

Nemschoff has had success with its Serenity II treatment chair that has infinite reclining
positions to completely flat, includes an upholstered headrest and features heavy-duty casters.
Also new from Nemscboff is the Erica Therapeutic, which is a patient-adjustable reclining back
chair complementary to the entire new Erica family of patient and lounge sealing. With a
compatible foot stool that goes underneath the chair, it makes a compact patient room solution.

Stryker Medical's Symmetry treatment recliners were designed as an easy-to-use patient room
accessory, said Erin Dvorak, product manager, Stryker Medical (Kalamazoo, MI). "They're like
your La-Z-Boy at home," she related. The chair features a handle on the side that the patient can
pull back to recline into infinite positions to a flat bed position. A locking foot rest prevents the
foot rest from wearing over time and dropping to the floor.
Brayton International was awarded the 2005 ADEX Platinum Award from the Design journal for
its Cura healthcare seating and table product line which includes patient room seating. Its
breathable CuraNet knit suspension system reduces pressure points and heat build providing
comfort for the user.

Hill-Rom's Art of Care 3 Position Recliner also features removable arms to aid in side ingress
and egress.

Bedside stands and tables

More than just a place for patients to store personal items or eat their meals, bedside sands and
over-bed tables are also incorporating additional functionality.

Stryker Medical recently launched a selection of bedside stands that offer several unique features
designed to help improve durability. According to Dvorak, Stryker product designers traveled
around the country talking to interior designers and architects to uncover new aesthetic trends in
the healthcare industry. As a result, the company introduced its Traditional, Shaker and
Contemporary styled bedside stands.

The Stryker stands incorporate a thermoform manufacturing process borrowed from the
countertop industry. The process vacuum seals a thermoform film onto the top of the stand to
make it extremely durable and cleanable. The stands retain the aesthetic look of wood, but
because it's vacuum sealed for a seamless surface, there are no nooks and crannies for water or
dirt to settle in. The bedside stands from Stryker also have casters underneath that are hidden
from view to provide a homier feel, while at the same time preventing a mop from getting
tangled in the casters. A sealed bottom edge on the stand prevents pooled water from warping or
cracking the cabinet. In addition, the internal portion of the drawers can be completely pulled out
so that it's component replaceable.

A little over a year ago, Stryker launched its overbed tables which earned a 2004 Nightingale
Award. One major distinguishing feature, said Dvorak, is that the Stryker overbed tables have a
U-shaped base versus an "I-bar". The u-shape enables the overbed table to cradle technology on
beds, stretchers, wheelchairs and chairs, so that you're really able to get the table up close to the
patient, said Dvorak. The Stryker overbed table was also designed to be easy to use by both
nurse and patient alike.

Stryker reduced the number of parts in the table's column by half in order to minimize
complications and make maintenance easier. According to Dvorak, the Stryker overbed table has
the largest eating/storage surface on the market. It's available in either a single or split-top model
with vanity options and multiple color choices.

Brandrud's new Revive Daystand complements the Revive suite of patient room products and
provides another innovative approach to the standard bedside table with a two-tier design that
uses vertical space to maintain a small footprint.

Office and lab environments

The environment that hospital staff work in is just as important as the patient room or the front
lobby. Healthcare facilities would do well to look to the corporate office environment when
designing their office, lab and other work areas.

Steelcase provides a variety of flexible options for the healthcare office environment. The
company's new Think Chair anticipates and reacts to users' needs as they change postures and sit
for long periods of time. The chair provides adjustments for seat height, seat depth, seat edge
flex, lumbar height, an adjustable headrest and 4-way adjustable arms. The passive seat edge flex
alleviates pressure under user's thighs. The 4-way adjustable arms provide a retraction feature
that automatically moves the arms out of the way when they come into contact with a
worksurface, allowing users to get as close as they need to their work.

The new Steelcase Lab Bench was designed in conjunction with the Van Andel Research Insitute
in Grand Rapids, MI, to provide a flexible laboratory furniture solution. Van Andel wanted to be
able to reconfigure their 14,000-square-foot laboratory over a weekend, without mating down
walls, changing furniture or removing items from drawers. The solution had to be able to support
heavy test equipment and sustain vibration. The overall intent of the design would be to help
facilitate communication and collaboration among researchers.

Combining Steelcase's experience in the office environment with 80 years of healthcare business,
lab Bench provides desk-like support, integrated electronics, proper ergonomics, inherent
flexibility and an aesthetic that matches the facility s office space. Two people can move,
disconnect and connect the benches to be configured in virtually any combination or direction,
using only a dolly and a wrench.

KI also offers moveable wall panel systems and office furniture that can turn any healthcare
environment into a modular, easy to change office environment.

Maintenance and cleaning

Taking care of furniture has never been easier thanks to new upholstery and finish options. One
such fabric being offered by several furniture suppliers including Nemsehoff, Stryker and Hill-
Rom is Crypton, an extremely durable, cleanable fabric that maintains the feel of fabric yet
repels blood, urine and betadyne. Crypton fabrics are available with CAL 133 fire standard

"There are a variety of performance fabrics out there that are designed for high use situations and
situations in which more fluids get involved," said Nemschoff. "Fabric companies come to us
very early on with their new performance fabrics and we work with them in bringing them out."

He noted that Nemschoff also uses an extremely. durable, environmentally-friendly polyurethane

finish that is scratch resistant and can withstand harsh healthcare cleaners.

Clean out and wipe-out spaces that allow loose dirt to fall through the seating to the floor, enable
cleaning and maintenance. Nemschoff, Hill-Rom and Brandrud offer these clean-friendly
Component replaceabilty is another key feature designed to cut maintenance costs by eliminating
the need to replace furniture. Most Nemschoff products are designed with complete component
replaceabilty, including armcaps, seats, backs, a fabrics and more. "These are long living assets
that need to perform in the facility," said Nemschoff. The Hill-Rom Art of Care line incorporates
a replaceable upholstery and man cap feature. "These features allow a hospital to maximize their
seating investment over time," said Dickey. Hill-Rom's exclusive six-step process, "Healthcoat
222 Finish" is a durable finish that protects the wood against surface damage by ultraviolet rays
and provides an intermolecular bonding of the first and second coatings that is impervious to
most healthcare chemicals and cleaners, said Dickey.

Many Brandrud products are "field recoverable" where the cover is affixed with hook aim loop
fasteners for easy replacement. Brandrud's Reliant Multiple seating products can be ordered with
a plastic seat and an upholstered pad, so the upholstery can be replaced without taking the
product out of service.


Considerations in healthcare flooring include environmental issues, infection control, air quality,
patient and worker safety, as well as comfort and aesthetics.

Health Care Without Harm has a fact sheet that documents reasons to avoid PVC or vinyl
flooring including associations with asthma; the release of highly toxic dioxins and reproductive
toxicants. Alternative (non-PVC) flooring options include rubber, polyolefin, and linoleum
flooring. A chart of alternatives is available at

Health Care Without Harm also suggests using products that are compliant with CA 1350, a
protocol developed by The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) for evaluating
emissions from interior building materials. Selecting products complaint with CA 1350 may help
improve a facility's indoor air quality. A fist of products that have passed CA 1350 is available at
http://</P< a>> Kaiser Permanente is incorporating PVC
free flooring alternatives system-wide in millions of square feet of new construction. In response
to a performance-based RFP issued by Kaiser Permanente, Tandus Technologies developed a
new carpet product that has recyclable backing made from plastic film reclaimed from discarded
laminated safety glass, noted Stacy Malkan, communications director for Health Care Without

Another interesting flooring choice being used in sustainable projects, noted Malkan, is bamboo.
An article in the February issue of Interior Design magazine highlights the Jay Monaban cancer
center (named for Katie Couric's deceased husband), which was designed without using
materials linked to cancer.

Shaw Industries (Dalton, GA) has also made advancements in sustainable, environmentally
preferable floor covering products.

Mondo USA provides rubber flooring options that are naturally antibacterial and anti-microbial,
provide cushioned comfort and are easy to maintain, and environmentally friendly. Mondo's
newest 3mm flooring option, Natura, is available in ten colors with a marbleized pattern and a
sealskin texture. A dense, waterproof, non pourous wear layer provides stain resistance. The
flooring also provides noise reduction benefits, is able to withstand heavy loads in excess of 1
000 lbs. per square inch (PSI), and exceeds ADA requirements for slip resistance. Mondo notes
that the Natura product provides the benefit of a low life-cycle maintenance cost compared to
carpet or sheet vinyl.

Where applicable, carpet can provide a comfortable, pleasing aesthetic that also provides
improved air quality.

Carpet manufacturer Bentley Prince Street (City of Industry, ca) notes that all of their carpet
offerings address the concerns of 24-hour facility including: Ease of use for mobile equipment;
microbial growth inhibition; sound construction; appearance to create warm, clean environment;
improved air quality; resistance to stares, spills and soiling; appearance over time with high
traffic; maintenance ease and reduction in seams to avoid hazards and help rollability. The
company's patented stain resistant coating Protekt provides a barrier against soiling and staining
to enhance the longevity of the carpet and reduce the need for frequent major cleaning.

Lees Carpet (Kennesaw, GA) offers a line of resilient textile sheet flooring called NeoFloor that
serves as a hybrid product of sorts combining the warmth, underfoot comfort and acoustical
advantages of carpet with the durability and ease-of-maintenance of resilient surfaces. NeoFloor
creates a slip resistant surface that is impervious in moisture, easy to roll equipment over, adds
comfort by reducing back and leg strain and absorbs sound for a quieter environment. A new
broadloom carpet from Lees is its nature inspired Life Elements collection.

When your carpet has reached its end-of-life, consider a reclamation program such as that
offered by the INVISTA Reclamation Center, the first nationwide program to recycle all types of
carpet. For a reclamation calculator, go to http:// to learn the estimated
value of your environmental efforts.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Healthcare Purchasing News

COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning