High performance furniture designed to meet the needs of challenging environments, from nursing and residential homes, to hospitals and secure accommodation.
From comfortable chairs to dining suites, television cabinets to radiator covers, you need to know that any furniture and furnishings you choose are attractive and durable – and meet current legislation.
Furniture for bedroom, lounge, dining room, etc needs to be well constructed from durable materials, otherwise it will quickly look tatty, and will need to be replaced much sooner.
Despite the apparent extra initial expense, furniture that has been made especially for hard use provides better value in the long term.
Features to look out for include:
• Strong frames with solid joints. Any bolts used should be recessed, have tamper-proof heads, or otherwise be protected from unauthorised dismantling.
• Curved edges on cupboards and tables for safety.
• Cupboard and drawer handles that are easy to use, even with a weakened grip.
• Fabrics that meet fire safety standards. Seat covers that are washable, particularly on dining chairs. Waterproof covers, such as vinyl, may be more practical where the needs of incontinent users need to be met.
• Solid materials and sturdy laminates, rather than thin veneers that are quickly damaged.
Regrettably, there have been serious accidents, sometimes fatal, involving burns from radiators and pipes with hot surfaces.
It is therefore part of the National Minimum Standards for care homes that radiators and pipes should either have a guaranteed low surface temperature, or should otherwise be covered. Some covers are also designed to protect the radiators from attempts at vandalism.
In environments where valuable equipment could be vulnerable to attack, special lockers or cupboards can provide protection. This cabinet, for example, houses the TV and video or games console. There are no accessible hinges or handles, it is lockable, and has a robust polycarbonate screen.
Virtually unbreakable mirrors are also available.
A particular issue for care environments is the safe storage of medication, and there is a considerable amount of legislation which must be adhered to, particularly with regard to Controlled Drugs. Lockable cabinets and careful records are both essential: the newest computerised systems may combine both, dispensing doses of all types of medication in single bar-coded bags, in accordance with patients’ prescriptions.