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Compassionate Care Requires Careful Choice of Words

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Compassionate Care Requires Careful Choice of Words

Words matter, and nowhere is this more true than in the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. Calls have grown stronger for eliminating the use of terms that can discourage people in need from pursuing treatment. We at Furniture Concepts pledge to avoid the use of stigmatizing language on our social media platforms and other public forums, in keeping with our mission to support evidence-based, compassionate care.

The settings in which patients receive care also can serve to lift up or bring down. Offering a home-like environment delivers the message that individuals with mental health or substance use disorders matter, and deserve the best of care. We can help you create residential or outpatient environments that are adaptable to patients’ changing needs and encourage community interaction that supports a healthy recovery.

In a blog posted last January for Psychology Today, physician and clinical mental health writer Kristen Fuller, M.D., wrote that the words we see or hear generate an “associative activation” in the brain. This unleashes a series of cognitive, emotional, and physical responses that occur beyond the individual’s conscious control. The reactions to hearing stigmatizing terms such as “addict” can harm a person’s self-esteem at a most vulnerable time.

Changing commonly used terms can therefore have a positive effect on both the patient community and the public in general. Among her recommendations on non-stigmatizing language, Fuller advocates use of “substance use disorder” over “addiction,” “use/misuse” instead of “abuse,” and “survived a suicide” over “failed attempt.”

As a partner in this field, we are committed to “talking the talk” as well as “walking the walk.” Join us as we commit to using terminology that shuns labels based on illness, and instead supports person-centered care.

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Deliver the Right Message to Your Visitors

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Over the past two years, many patient care sites strengthened their visitation policies out of necessity, taking care to protect residents from virus exposure. Most of these policies remain in place, making it easier to check in visitors and to monitor their whereabouts. But are facilities also paying attention to the other signals they might be sending visitors about the quality of their operations?

Having a standardized screening procedure at the front door, with the technology to support it, will send the message that a facility’s owners care about resident and visitor safety. But won’t all that goodwill go for naught if the environment of care isn’t as carefully planned?

It takes no more than a few moments for someone new to your facility to judge whether the setting appears warm and home-like or cold and institutional. We at Furniture Concepts can help you design spaces that convey a sense of comfort, security, and attention to detail.

Our diverse collections feature time-tested, low-maintenance designs that allow you to tailor your space to the needs of the population you serve. Our product lines also help to create a welcoming environment, an impression that won’t be lost on those visiting for the first time. They’ll be left with the clear sense that this is a care setting where the person they care about can make progress.

In response to COVID-19, facility directors invested in everything from temperature scanning to facial recognition technology to allow them to reopen to the community, bringing back visitors safely. But always keep in mind that it’s the home-like features of your environment of care that will leave the strongest and most lasting impression. Let us work with you to create spaces that are most welcoming to residents, staff, and visitors alike.

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Efficient Design Creates an Attractive Workplace

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Long before “The Great Resignation” became part of our national lingo, healthcare organizations were struggling to attract and retain a high-quality workforce. According to a 2020 report from Nursing Solutions, Inc., the typical health facility saw a staggering turnover of nearly 90% of its staff between 2015 and 2019. There is no sign that this pace will slow anytime soon, which makes it essential for organizations to do all they can to make their workplaces employee-friendly.

In today’s environment, the design of your care settings becomes more than a patient wellness issue alone. Efficient, safe design also will make a difference for healthcare staff who can often feel overworked and underappreciated. At a time when employees routinely find themselves doing more in facilities with staff vacancies, a setting that isn’t meeting patient needs will just add to their tasks — and their frustration.

Our furniture for healing environments combines form and function in a way that maximizes safety for patients and employees. Safe design greatly reduces the risk of medical errors, one of the biggest drivers of workplace stress. Our pieces also can be configured to encourage patient interaction, which in turn can reduce the everyday burden on staff.

The vast majority of employee departures from healthcare organizations are voluntary, and workplace quality factors such as workload and scheduling are major contributors, according to the Nursing Solutions report. An efficient work environment can reduce feelings of burnout and will minimize the potential for mistakes that cause harm.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the healthcare industry will add around 2.4 million new jobs between 2019 and 2029. With the demand for talent continuing to exceed the supply for some time to come, organizations must do more to make themselves an attractive landing spot for an increasingly mobile healthcare workforce. Let us help you create a work setting that reflects the best of your organization.

 

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Residential Spaces Can Convey a Sense of Community

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Patients in recovery from illness value the feeling of belonging to a community with shared experiences. The importance of community has driven many recent trends in healthcare, including the emergence of peer support as an essential component of many health disciplines. We at Furniture Concepts have these same ideas in mind when designing living spaces that encourage patient interaction and limit isolation.

A growing body of research suggests the significant impact peers can have on patient wellness. Reviews of behavioral health studies have found that while clinical care and peer support have about the same effect on clinical outcomes, peers make a greater contribution when looking at measures of long-term recovery. Many treatment programs have responded by integrating peer support into their menu of services.

Patients welcome the opportunity to share their stories with people who have had similar lived experiences. This applies to their fellow patients as well as a program’s trained peer specialists. Your facility design should reinforce this desire to share, by supporting spaces that encourage group support.

Our Safe Harbor Collection humanizes the institutional setting and creates a home-like feel that eases patient anxiety. The durable products in the collection’s distinctive Cove, Regatta and Natura lines can be easily configured to encourage group interaction and to build a healing community in any facility.

“People really feel better when they know they are not alone and that other people understand and share their experiences,” psychotherapist Hilary Jacobs Hendel, author of the book It’s Not Always Depression, said in a Psychiatry Advisor article. Patients who feel part of a community gain strength from their engagement, learning from others as they exchange strategies for coping with the challenges of daily life. Let us partner with you to design environments of care where patients know they are valued and supported.

 

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