Research shows the design of a healthcare space can speed the recovery of patients. ProHealth Care, a community healthcare system based in Waukesha County, Wis., has taken this to heart in their interior design plans, with a goal of improving the health of its community. To do this, ProHealth collaborated with Staples Advantage on the design of their latest facility, the UW Cancer Center at ProHealth, which opened in August 2015.
As a design and furniture partner, Staples Advantage provided ProHealth Care with furniture that met its standards and requirements. In addition, Staples Advantage:
- Served as a consultant to identify the best choices for furnishings in a continued effort to improve the experience of patients and their families
- Connected ProHealth Care with a healthcare ergonomist to assess the staff’s needs and the workplace environment
- Met with environmental services and facilities managers to understand the type of cleaning products required for the space and furniture
- Embraced the interests of patients and their families, who were included in design discussions through a patient advisory council for the cancer care center
We recently chatted with Roger Briggs, Business Development Director of Healthcare Furniture with Staples to learn more about the new cancer care center and the positive reviews it has received from patients, staff, and the community.
WPHN: Can you describe the work Staples Advantage did for UW Cancer Center at ProHealth?
Roger: The furniture and business interiors arm of Staples Advantage, the business to business division of Staples, provides a range of services including healthcare interiors and design services to Hospitals, Independent Delivery Network (IDNs) and Group Purchasing Organization (GPOs). As a design and furniture partner, Staples Advantage has focused its partnership with ProHealth on interior design and standards creation. Specific to the UW Cancer Center, Staples Advantage provided ProHealth Care with furniture that meets its standards, function and design requirements, but this is just one aspect. We also lent expert advice on the best furnishings for healthcare settings including reception, treatment, waiting room, exam room, café and outdoor furniture. We have also connected ProHealth Care with a healthcare ergonomist for more detailed recommendations on ergonomic considerations. Our long-term collaboration with ProHealth is part of a continued effort to improve the experience of patients and their families and to maintain a patient environment – and this is reflected through our work at the UW Cancer Center.
WPHN: How did this design help to achieve positive reviews from patients, staff, and the community?
Roger: Staples Advantage paid consideration to the interests of patients and their families, involving them in design discussions through a patient advisory council for the cancer care center. Also, the team developed relationships with the staff, providers and patients, communicating trends and providing solutions to fulfill their visions and meeting their needs. By cementing these connections, we have helped ProHealth break down siloes, benefiting not only the organization but also the community.
The fruits of our collaboration were apparent when the UW Cancer Center hosted an open house in July 2015. ProHealth expected 2,500 people might show up; instead, 5,000 people attended. The furniture, building and artwork all support the health and wellness of the community, and that includes patients, staff and providers.
WPHN: Were there any particular challenges you faced in helping to design this space?
Roger: Cancer patients are immuno-compromised patients, so the cleaning that needs to be done to furniture is intense. We needed to make sure that the furniture and its fabric could withstand heavy duty cleaning. We met with environmental services and facilities managers to understand the type of cleaning products and their applications, and to make sure we implemented the right solutions.
WPHN: How is the increased emphasis on community-based care affecting the design of new healthcare facilities?
Roger: Healthcare facilities are tasked with providing excellent clinical care while also creating a caring environment for patients and their families. Facilities should include spaces where patients and their families can consult with healthcare professionals, discuss care plans, and receive treatment in a warm, comforting, and supportive environment.
WPHN: Could you provide an overview of the design process your firm uses on a typical healthcare project?
Roger: With interior design projects, Staples Advantage takes the time to understand broader goals while also identifying the right products that meet the healthcare organization’s specifications and design requirements. Staples Advantage also serves as a consultant to identify the best choices for furnishings that reflect the latest thinking in healthcare settings. Additionally, the Staple Advantage team meets with environmental services and facilities managers to understand different types of cleaning products and their applications. Most importantly, the team also takes into consideration the interests of patients and their families, and includes them in design discussions throughout projects.
WPHN: What trends are you seeing in the healthcare space design? What’s the next big innovation in technology that will impact design?
Roger: The changes we’re seeing in healthcare design include modular casework that can be reused or repaired along with seating and lounge furniture that provides patients and their families with a comfortable healing environment. Research shows the design of a healthcare space can speed the recovery of patients, so it’s critical for designers to be mindful when selecting furniture, artwork, and more. Designers have a great opportunity to create a space that improves the experience for patients and their families.
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