Containing healthcare associated infections (HAIs) could not be a more timely priority for healthcare facilities, given the heightened demands brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. While many institutions have adopted strategies to keep high-risk objects clean, these efforts often fall short because of inadequate staff training or inconsistent execution –
and because there is no industrywide standard for testing for pathogens, facility leaders can struggle to find the information they need about the items they’re buying and how best to care for them.
Among the many deliverables healthcare buyers want in the furniture they purchase, negating harm should be number one. The Center for Health Design lists reducing surface contamination linked to HAIs at the top of its key goals for evidence-based design. Surfaces should be nonporous and smooth, and buyers should avoid products with seams, angles or depressions that become breeding grounds for germs.
Improving environmental safety also means avoiding materials containing volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde. Avoiding hazardous materials in furniture components is a cornerstone of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process for buildings.
Healthcare facilities can take important steps to create and maintain a safe environment of care. By committing everyone on staff to a culture of process improvement that rejects assigning blame, organizations can ease any concerns of patients and families in these worrisome times. The manufacturers you work with should serve as your partners in assessing and mitigating risk in your organization.
At Furniture Concepts, we offer products with these concerns in mind. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we added a new antimicrobial agent to our protective finishes that provides our wood products with an extra layer of defense. We offer antimicrobial mattresses and mattress covers that can be cleaned with cleaning agents without degrading the material. For upholstered seating, we manufacture vinyl cushions that can be cleaned with bleach mixtures to neutralize any surface microbes. For intensive environments, our Molded Plastic furniture line makes thorough surface cleaning a breeze.
We know that furniture for healthcare environments needs to offer both durability and comfort, but never at the expense of safety. We are committed to working with you to identify your safety needs and to show how we can help fill any gaps.