Healthcare design is all about creating spaces for the human factor.
The pandemic has severely impacted healthcare for workers, patients, and caregivers; an already burdened profession that now faces even more stress as well as burnout, exhaustion, and trauma. However, healthcare design can help build a new culture of wellbeing within their organizations and create a sense of safety, comfort, and belonging.
We spoke with Mary Beaumont, NCIDQ, Healthcare Specialist at Red Thread, to discuss how we design for the human factor in healthcare. As our dedicated healthcare specialist, it’s her role to implement thoughtful healthcare furniture solutions by connecting people with place and technology. Here’s more insight into how she got started and what trends she’s seeing in the market:
How did you get started in this role?
Mary Beaumont: Healthcare is my passion. I’ve been a healthcare interior designer for a decade, both on the architecture side and now the furniture dealer side. When someone visits a healthcare setting, whether it is a doctor’s office, emergency room, or visiting a loved one, it’s often when they’re the most vulnerable. There’s a huge need for creating spaces that are comforting, healing, efficient and safe, and it’s something I personally love to do: helping others. Based on my love of healthcare coupled with my affinity of design and technical details, I bridge the gap between the furniture dealer, the client, and the architecture firm to create a better healthcare experience.
“Based on my love of healthcare coupled with my affinity of design and technical details, I bridge the gap between the furniture dealer, the client, and the architecture firm to create a better healthcare experience.”
– Mary Beaumont, NCIDQ, Healthcare Specialist at Red Thread
What type of design nuances do you see on a day-to-day basis?
Mary Beaumont: Healthcare furniture is even more nitty gritty than workplace furniture. While all interior design is held to the International Building Code, healthcare design often goes deeper than that. There are very specific aspects to be consider such as having corridors wide enough for stretchers/beds, infectious disease control, denser foam in lounge seating, higher seat heights, slope top casework so dust isn’t collected, crumb sweeps on chairs, Trendelenburg functions on recliners, and so many more. Due to these requirements, healthcare design may not be considered glamorous. When you think interior design, most people think hotels or beautiful law firms. But healthcare design can be just as stunning – it just needs to conform to stricter rules to keep patients, families, and staff as safe as possible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What is healthcare design assist?
Mary Beaumont: Healthcare design assist is all about collaborating with architecture and design partners early in the design phase prior to a project going out to bid. It helps lower costs by establishing realistic furniture budgets earlier in the design process based on the most current project data. As we work in partnership with the team to plan early on, we also help minimize revisions and change orders. We can also eliminate the time-consuming bid process of preparing, receiving, and analyzing bid responses to choose the right partner and solution. Since we use the latest design software, including Revit, Sketch Up, CET Designer, and AutoCAD, design and communication is streamlined and fluid. Lastly, because we can source from hundreds of vendors, we’re able to furnish projects to meet any budget or design specification.
Are there any trends here to stay in healthcare design?
Mary Beaumont: People just spent two years standing 6ft apart, wearing masks, and have been unable to visit loved ones at hospital; now they’re coming out of the pandemic with different expectations on what is needed. People are craving a new experience that feels more welcoming, comforting, and extremely clean. In response to this trend, we’re excited about our new partnership with Moduform, a behavior health furniture manufacturer based in Massachusetts.
Our parent company Steelcase has also done a great job at responding to the rise of healthcare hospitality with the newly launched West Elm for Health collaboration available Fall 2022. The entire healthcare community can now enjoy several West Elm furniture pieces designed to uphold specific healthcare standards like appropriate recline, metal legs, crumb sweep, and high-performance fabrics.
Need some healthcare inspiration?
We geek out on healthcare and we’re here to help. Whether you’re interested in setting up a virtual tour of the Steelcase healthcare showroom, or chatting with us to discuss more healthcare environments, we’d love to connect.
Our new Healthcare Furniture Design Lookbook also features some amazing settings from Steelcase to help inspire your next healthcare space!