In November of 2013, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “The Hospital Room of the Future”. This article provided a look from the Mayo Clinic into a future state of how hospital rooms could be improved. One of the biggest drivers of this is the reduction of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs).
The article states, “One out of every 20 patients admitted to a hospital picks up an infection while there, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These infections can be serious and deadly, and they cost the U.S. $10 billion a year. But recent studies indicate that at least half can be avoided. And the design of patient rooms is one of the best places to start.”
But what if the future is now?
Nonporous & Seamless Room Surfaces
The article recommends using solid-surface materials that are nonporous and seamless. This makes them easy to clean and reduces the chance for mold, mildew and bacteria that cause infection.
Kwalu provides this now. Our products not only support infection prevention programs when combined with appropriately stringent cleaning protocols and products, but also look great and last. Our furniture is guaranteed not to chip for 10 years and is bleach cleanable.
In fact, Kwalu’s materials have shown compatibility with all of the Clorox Healthcare disinfection chemistries, including the Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Wipes and Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant Wipes.
Hospitals are large facilities in constant evolution, so their interiors must be able to blend with the times and to deal with change in small increments. Unlike hotel or retail environments, a partial closure to allow one new look to be implemented is never an option, and the true 24 hour/7days a week /365 days a year healthcare environment puts special stress on furnishings and finishes not seen in other building types. Environmental services staff is now often involved early in evaluating maintenance of materials and agreeing to choices that can be kept at a high standard over the long term.
Kwalu furniture fulfills these requirements and more. The high-impact resistant polymer finish is easily repaired and resistant to dings and scuffs, maintaining appearances with minimal housekeeping, instead of extensive and time-consuming maintenance.
Smaller Rooms Require Multi-use Furniture
In addition to improved infection prevention, healthcare trends show patient rooms getting smaller in order for hospitals to accommodate more patients.
As a result, furniture will need to adjust to allow for more multi-use items that are modular, mobile and can function in a smaller footprint. Kwalu furniture is already designed this way and our constant study of healthcare trends allows us to stay ahead of the needs of both patients and caregivers.
Flexible, generic rooms
Hospitals are unique in terms of buildings that are required to be in service for 50+ years, while individual rooms can undergo changes in as little as 7 years. The rooms need to be flexible and must be able to handle incremental changes in order to keep abreast of the evolving needs and technologies. Today’s pediatric exam room may later be part of a geriatric cardiology unit, or a new imaging suite, or relocated office functions in only a few years.
Patient Rooms Designed for the Family
Studies have shown a positive relationship between family interactions and improved healing rates. The patient room of the future will also accommodate for more family visitors within the same space. Smart furniture design and modular items are key. Below are just a couple of examples.
Carrara Side Sleeper
Carrara Sleeper Recliner
These are just a few advances in futuristic patient room design that are available today. As more and more technology advances, Kwalu will be right there at the front lines providing furniture that aids in increased infection control and patient comfort.