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Care Settings Prove Essential to Patient Engagement

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The term “patient engagement” attained buzzword status in the healthcare field some time ago. These days, companies tout technology as the main vehicle for keeping patients engaged, both within and outside a treatment facility. Care providers have email boxes inundated with vendor pitches to prove it.

But the setting of care remains as important a tool for patient/resident engagement as any smartphone app or other online product. When patients are made to feel welcomed in a facility, and believe that their experience of care matters to their provider, their prospects for success inevitably rise. Equipping your care sites with safe, attractive and functional furniture helps to communicate that positive message.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has defined patient engagement as “providers and patients working together to improve health.” Genuine human interactions are essential to high-quality care, with treatment providers encouraging open communication with patients and building mutual trust. This level of respect can occur only in care environments that convey security and comfort for the patient.

Educating patients about their treatment is necessary but not sufficient for success. Providers also must honor their patients’ dignity and autonomy, and this begins with creating a safe space for healing. This will enhance patient satisfaction, an essential component of good health outcomes. Our years of expertise at Furniture Concepts can help you create environments that speak to your facilities’ ever-changing needs, while always keeping the quality of the patient experience as the primary target.

Patient engagement is by no means a simple task. For most of the industry’s history, the needs of patients were traditionally seen as secondary to a focus on providers. Let us help you to create care settings that elevate patients’ interests and facilitate their journey to wellness.

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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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Comfortable Meeting Spaces Promote Patient Recovery

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If we ever needed a reminder that we are social beings who thrive on connection, the past year’s events gave us unmistakable proof. As staggering as the effect of social isolation has been on all of us, we can’t forget the toll it has taken on those who were already facing serious health challenges. Leaders in behavioral health often say recovery is about connection, which is why offering safe and comfortable spaces for patients to interact should be part of any healing environment.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., made the case in his book Together that loneliness had become a public health crisis. A 2020 policy brief published in Health Affairs (suggests that social disconnection increases the risk of death from all causes. The brief argues that social connection belongs with nutrition and exercise as a lifestyle factor deserving national guidelines for the public to follow.

If illness is often caused or worsened by isolation, then social connectedness can hold the key to a healthy recovery. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommended in a 2020 report that healthcare workers be trained to address patient isolation. Facility leaders can step up by designing open-concept community spaces that encourage patient interaction in a calming environment.

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A Shift in Perspective: Seeing Furniture Choices as an Investment Decision

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With an intimidating number of choices in the marketplace, the people who are tasked with purchasing furniture for healthcare environments can often be left feeling overwhelmed. As with many decisions, one typically chooses the path of least resistance and purchases what is readily available and for the lowest cost. While this strategy may appear to work well in the short-term, it fails to account for whether these choices offer the best long-term investment.  Furniture Concepts partners with clients throughout the buying process. We offer mindful design solutions that are both durable and timeless. Starting with our first call, we can help you identify the furniture that will best serve your clients, staff, and overall vision. We offer replaceable components on many of our products which can greatly extend the lifetime of your furniture and allows for décor changes over time. We are in the business of creating long lasting relationships with our clients. We are available anytime to answer questions and can always provide cleaning and care tips and tricks for all upholstery and finishes. To top it off, we offer industry leading warranties so that you can purchase with peace of mind and confidence. 

As a solution-based company our goal is to provide every client with useful information so that they can best assess their needs, both for the short-term and the long-term. The Center for Health Design considers decision making that takes a long-term investor’s view as a key goal for evidence-based design. A long-term perspective will help ensure that your purchases reinforce your organization’s goals for ongoing performance improvement. Here are some of the questions facilities should routinely ask about the furniture they are considering for purchase: • Image: Do they reflect the organization’s mission? Are they consistent with how the organization conveys its “brand”? • Flexibility: Can furniture pieces be reconfigured if/when the organization’s needs change, or in emergency situations? • Longevity: Are replacement components available, increasing products’ life span and boosting the bottom line? Just as important, is your furniture manufacturer a true partner, not just at point of purchase, but across the life cycle of the product? Quality manufacturers will have no problem offering documentation of a product’s safety and durability testing results, all relevant warranty information, and care guidance for staff that will maximize the life of the products. Purchasers of furniture for healthcare environments do not have to be caught in a constant cycle of “buy and replace”. Choosing to work with a quality manufacturer that is committed to offering ongoing support will go a long way toward ensuring that your purchases represent the best possible investment. Let us show how we can partner with you to develop a cost-effective strategy.