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Hospital Furniture - An Overview
By Themedica on September 15, 2008 1:56 PM |
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Hospital furniture refers to all movable objects which may support the human body viz. seating furniture and beds, provide storage, or hold objects on horizontal surfaces above the ground.
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Hospital furniture comes in various shapes and sizes, it can be as general as a chair for the waitng area at the reception or a specialized product such as a delivery bed. It can be made from many materials, including metal, plastic and wood. Furniture often entails a variety of woodworking, metallic or plastic joints that lend adjustability and flexibility to it. Storage furniture used in hospitals often comprises doors, drawers, and shelves and is used to contain smaller objects such as clothes, tools, instruments and other medical goods.

Since hospitals are institutions providing health care treatment by specialised staff and equipment, their needs for furniture are often different from the household furniture users.

General hospital are a well-known type of health care institutions dealing with a number of diseases and injuries and usually have an emergency department to handle acute threats to health. General hospitals are the most important health care institutions in their area and typically house a large number of beds for both intensive as well as long-term care. They also offer specialized facilities for laboratories, surgery, plastic surgery, childbirth, etc. Consequently, their requirements for medical furniture vary with their size and the different types of health care services they offer.

Speicality medical care facilities include rehabilitation centers, trauma centers,  children's hospitals, geriatric hospitals, or ones meant to treat specific medial problems viz. psychiatric hospital, caner hospitals, etc.

In all, while genral hopitals need a variety of furniture, speciality hospitals require a variety of speciality furniture.

Types of Hospital Furniture

Though there exists a large variety of furniture that hospitals use, some basic types are outlined below.

Hospital Bed
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Hospital beds are specifically designed to facilitate recovery, they are the most common form of medical furniture for hospitals and nursing facilities. However, they are increasingly becoming popular in other settings too, such as homes. Hospital beds comprise wheels that help to relocate the patients with ease. The wheels of a hospital bed are firmly positioned in place. In addition, hospital beds are also considered a unit of measurement for the capacity of any type of inpatient medical facility.

Hospital Cabinet
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A hospital cabinet is a box-shaped furniture, which is either a stand alone piece or built into or attached to a wall. Cabinets were traditionally made of wood, however now they are often made of synthetic materials. Hospital cabinets are used for storage of miscellaneous items viz. pharma drugs. Cabinets commonly have more one or more than one doors at the front that are affixed with door hardware and a lock.

Hospital Chair

A chair is a furniture for sitting and comes in several types. Chairs consist of a back, and at times arm rests and are meant for use by one person. The ones without a back and wheel-chair.jpg armrests are called stools. The design of hospital chairs is dependent on their usage. For instance various features such as ergonomics, size, weight, durability, stain resistance, foldability, stack ability and esthethics are defined by the use they would be put to. An example is that of a dental chair, which are reclined by design.

Hospital Cart

A maneuverable hospital cart is similar to a shopping cart in the sense that it has four swivel wheels installed at each of the four corners of the bottom portion for allowing rolling and turning movements. However, the designes are complex based on their usage. Above the cart frame top portion, there's generally a horizontal load bearing portion comprising head and hospital-cart.jpg feet ends with a mechanism for allowing the head and feet ends to be raised and lowered with respect to the cart frame top. It my house a number of drawers for carrying items such as medical instruments or medicines.

Hospital Table

A hospital table is a type of furniture that comprises a surface supported by a base and generally has four legs. It may be equipped with swivel wheels at the bottom or none. Further, the height too may be adjustable to house objects or food at a convenient or comfortable height when sitting. A common type of hospital table is the hospital-table.jpg nightstand or the bedside table designed to be placed beside a bed and meant to hold items for patient's use viz. medicines, books, a glass of water, lamp, etc.

Hospital Furniture Buying Tips

The quality of hospital furniture and supplies determines how effective and safe these products are and this in turn affects the quality of medical service rendered by a hospital. The importance of the quality hospital furniture can’t be overstated.

The following are tips that would help you to procure quality hospital furniture and supplies.

1.Establish the integrity of the source prior placing the order.

2.Establish a list of approved suppliers.

3.Require that any alternative source of supply provides the following as a minimum:

a.A pedigree back to the previous source.

b.Certification that it is not a diverted product.

c.Certification that any actions by the alternative source will not alter any original manufacture warranties or guarantees.

4.Be wary if a product is being offered at an unusually cheap price.

5.Check for subtle changes in the product’s package (compare with previously purchased products), notwithstanding legitimate parallel imported products

Industry Overview

Hospital furniture include desks, chairs, cabinets, etc, designed to meet the needs of hospitals and medical institutions. The growth rate of the furniture industry has been promising and it has grown at a rate of over 10% during the latter part of the decade. In the US, the year 2007 saw consumption of furniture worth US$ 13.5 billion  and this figure is now expected to touch US$ 14.0 billion  in 2008.

According to estimates by the Health Care Advisory Board for the demand of hospital beds, hospitals constituting the medical industry in the US would need to add 40 percent more capacity between 2000 and 2010. Different estimates report different figures though, other forcasts put the figure at 46% based on the recent trends in hospital spending. Further, from the years 2010 to 2012 about 136,000 will be needed by hospitals, if they choose to increase their capacity by 18%.

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