Many of us may not realize this until we think about it, but furniture, like heating and lighting, is essential to the delivery of quality healthcare services. And, like utilities, it’s a major portion of the healthcare facility budget. 

Furniture will be bought and replaced multiple times during the 30+year lifetime of most healthcare facilities. 

Those of you responsible for furniture purchases no matter what your facility—from hospitals to ambulatory clinics and residential care facilities—might be overwhelmed with all of the available options. 

The increase of choices over the past five years has been astounding. How do you decide what furniture is right for the space? How can what you select support the caregiving process and help reduce stress and fatigue? What choices can you make that enhance safety and productivity? 

Fortunately, there’s now a tool that can help. The EBD (evidence-based design) Furniture Checklist, developed by EDAC certified team members,is a tool that can help you make the best choices for the patients and organizations you serve. 

The one-page checklist is designed to facilitate a consistent approach when you’re looking at furniture and promote effective design team and client communication. It also gives you an evidence-based framework for comparing products and evaluating the best return on your investment.

Already, many in our industry are using the EBD Furniture Checklist to: 

  • Evaluate manufacturer product brochures and websites;
  • Evaluate furniture when meeting with manufacturers and dealers;
  • Work with interior designers to evaluate proposed furniture features, room layout, and product specifications;
  • Examine and evaluate existing furniture for life expectancy;
  • Conduct a return-on-investment analysis;
  • Develop contract specifications for furniture purchase or rental; and
  • Conduct a post-occupancy evaluation. 

To download the checklist, please go here.

To read more on the EBD Furniture Checklist, please see "Weighing Your Furniture Options" by Eileen B. Malone, RN, MSN, MS, EDAC, and Barbara A. Dellinger, MA, AAHID, IIDA, CID, EDAC, from the June 2011 issue of HEALTHCARE DESIGN.

Julie Kent is passionate about the intersection between operations and space with a focus on improved performance outcomes. Throughout her 12-year career in healthcare planning, Julie has developed a "systems-based approach" to infusing operational planning and evidence-based design into the strategic visioning, master planning, functional programming, and architectural design process. A senior healthcare planner at Eppstein Uhen Architects, Julie works with hospitals of all sizes throughout the U.S. and Canada. Over the last six years, she has volunteered her time to the development of the EDAC program and is currently the EDAC Advisory Council chair.