Furniture Design Features and Healthcare Outcomes

Checklist Provides Evidence-Based Criteria to Help Health Care Facilities Select Furniture

The health care community’s increased focus on both patient safety and sustainability has opened the door to a broader look at the role furniture can play in improving patient outcomes, staff support, and resource accountability in health care facilities. A white paper titled Furniture Design Features and Healthcare Outcomes, published by the Center for Health Design, introduces an evidence-based design checklist that facility managers and administrators can use to make decisions about purchasing, maintaining, and replacing furniture in their facilities. Designers and manufacturers may also find the checklist useful in communicating with their clients. Furniture covered includes chairs, sofas, tables, furniture systems, and built-in furniture (it does not include patient beds or medical carts).

The one-page checklist is divided into eight sections, each of which is associated with a common evidence-based design goal, beginning with "Reduce surface contamination linked to healthcare associated infections" and ending with "Represent the best investment." Variables to consider are listed under each goal. The white paper discusses the goals in depth., and research supporting each is referenced. Opportunities for further research are also identified.

The authors, Eileen Malone and Barbara Dellinger, invite users of the checklist to provide feedback on its usefulness, practicality, and clarity. Comments and suggestions should be sent to the Center for Health Design in care of Anjali Joseph, Director of Research, at ajoseph@healthdesign.org.