Unlike a correctional facility or other areas institutional furniture may be used, behavioral healthcare centers are focused on healing and rehabilitation, and every aspect of the facility should work to meet that goal, including the furniture.
For successful treatment, patients must feel comfortable and at ease, which can be difficult for any person in a new setting, especially an unfamiliar place such as a behavioral healthcare facility. The stress and anxiety felt in a new environment can be worsened by rigid and unwelcoming look of traditional institutional furniture.
Although choosing residential furniture may seem like an easy solution, there are still many factors to consider when furnishing a behavioral healthcare facility.
Firstly, it is important to remember there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to institutional furniture. The furnishings you chose will depend highly on the services offered by your facility. Some facilities may prefer high-end aesthetics while facilities with higher turnover rates will value durability and longevity.
Similarly, every room in your facility may require a different solution. Consider the intended use for each room, as well as the levels of supervision in each area. Areas with less supervision, such as resident rooms, will require safety features that may not be necessary in areas with more supervision.
While we all know a chair is meant for sitting, consider all the ways it could possibly be used in the unique, and sometimes challenging, environment of a behavioral healthcare facility. Ask yourself, can the chair be easily picked up and possibly thrown? Or if a piece of furniture is broken, can those pieces be used dangerously?
Misuse of institutional furniture in a behavioral healthcare setting can present major safety concerns! Seek out furniture which cannot be used dangerously. The design of anti-ligature furniture ensures there is no way a rope, cord, bedsheets or any other material can be tied down to cause harm to oneself or others.
Additionally, ask yourself if the furnishings you are considering are going to be able to withstand intensive use in your facility.
When working with vulnerable populations, such as residents of behavioral healthcare facilities, safety should always be a top concern. When sourcing institutional furniture for your facility, a major consideration is the available safety features. Can the pieces you’re looking at be anchored to the floor or wall to prevent moving? This is a common installation practice for resident room furniture, such as anti-ligature beds.
For furniture that cannot be anchored to the floor or wall, consider if these institutional furniture pieces can be ballasted or ganged together to prevent unauthorized movement of any furniture.
Most importantly, look to see if there are any moving parts or exposed fasteners that could be used to inflict harm on oneself or others.
To maintain facility safety, while still allowing residents to have private time in their rooms, consider choosing one-part moulded furniture with open storage, which makes the concealment of contraband impossible, while still allowing for easy inspection from staff members. Open shelving removes the possibility of small pieces that could be used dangerously.
These safety precautions are particularly important in resident rooms, as these areas tend to have less staff supervision than other areas of the facility.
Soft cushy furniture will wear down quickly, get dirty and can be hard to clean between patient uses. Additionally, soft furniture can more easily be used to hide dangerous contraband, compared to one-piece molded furniture.
Molded plastic institutional furniture can withstand the wears and tears of intensive everyday use in challenging environments, and easy is especially easy to clean.
While the initial thought may be to choose soft furniture that feels homey, keep in mind the downfalls of residential furniture and opt for institutional furniture that doesn’t sacrifice on comfort or safety.
Furnishing a behavioral healthcare facility means finding the fine balance between comfort and safety. Luckily, with Max-Secure®’s maintenance free institutional furniture you don’t have to choose between safety and comfort!
For over 40 years we have been serving the behavioral healthcare and correctional industries with expertly designed, tested and manufactured one-piece molded anti-ligature furniture. For every room in your facility, Max-Secure® has just the furnishings you need!