Johan Franzén, Next Care Concept Manager, Kinnarps
Why did you create Kinnarps Next Care®?
How we care for our fellow human beings is one of the most important issues for society today. Almost every one of us has been in a situation in which we, or a relative, needed care and support. And pretty much everyone has an opinion. One of the greatest challenges in healthcare today is that it can be perceived as unfair and unequal. Why should access to a particular type of treatment, or the possibility of receiving care in a well-designed healthcare and nursing environment, be a lottery determined by where you live? When it comes to nursing environments, we at Kinnarps are convinced that it's not just a matter of financial resources. It's about knowledge. As our physical environment is of great importance to our health, well-designed healthcare environments can have great societal benefits. Those who live or receive care in such an environment can experience greater wellbeing and even heal better, while the work of staff is made easier. Simply put, it's an environment in which patients, staff and relatives are happy and feel a sense of togetherness. Kinnarps Next Care® is a method for designing such 'healing spaces'. It's a method built on long experience and practical know-how that can make it easier for prescribers, heads of operations and staff to select furniture that is right for the environment and that has documented positive effects, not only for the individual, but also in socio-economic terms.
How does one create the optimal healthcare and nursing environment?
Being able to live or spend time in a place that suits us and where we feel at home, and where we have the best opportunities for a dignified social life and meaningful activity, is extremely important for our well-being. To create such 'healing spaces', it's vital that there is a clear, common vision in the organisation and that all those it affects, not least the staff, are included and involved. The activities and needs of the facility must be identified from the vision, and furniture and other furnishings must be chosen on the basis of this. It's extremely important that nursing environments and their furniture combine hard and soft values. The hard values can entail, for example, that in addition to being the right size and having the right function, furniture is flexible, easy to move, and can be hung up to facilitate cleaning. Hygiene is also important - for example, furniture should have removable and washable upholstery. The soft values are about our sensory experiences: sound, light, scent and tactile qualities. Interior design must support patients as well as staff and relatives. A new generation has completely different requirements for healthcare and nursing environments, and therefore the spaces should be designed differently nowadays.
What is the most important trend in interior design for healthcare and nursing?
A focus on the individual! The healthcare of today and the future focuses on the individual, on the person in need of care. 'Generic care packages' and large-scale solutions in which all patients are treated the same are now taboo, and of course we should be grateful for that! But the ambition to treat each individual on the basis of their needs and wishes pus high demands on increased flexibility in healthcare. Here, furniture plays a big role.
What are the benefits of 'the right furniture in the right place'?
Improved quality of life! Furniture that supports and stimulates the individual in daily life increases well-being. When furniture helps patients fend for themselves, safety improves and the risk of fall injuries is reduced. Flexible solutions that are easy to move around result in less heavy lifting, facilitate hygiene and cleaning and reduce the burden and stress of the staff. It may sound crass, but it's a matter of saving time. This time can be used to improve the quality of care. Today, a lot of time and resources are spent on adjusting a patient's sitting position, manually helping patients to balance or helping patients up after a fall. The right furniture can cut down on the need of such interventions. Well-designed furniture is not only sustainable from the point of view of quality. It's a future-proof investment in the form of timeless shapes and functions that meet the needs of tomorrow. Well-designed furniture also gives the healthcare environment an attractive identity that appeals to all individuals: residents, relatives and staff. It also creates a positive image for new recruitment of tenants and staff. The healthcare environment becomes a place to feel happy and at home in.
What are the challenges of the future?
We are staying healthier and living longer. And because of this, we are expected to manage at home on our own for longer. This means that by the time we go into a residential care home, we will be in greater need of help than earlier generations were. Unfortunately, there are also many indications that dementia will be the new health scourge, which naturally means we have to design environments accordingly. The population is also becoming more diverse, with more ethnicities represented among patients and staff, for example. This will also affect how we design healthcare environments to accommodate a greater number of cultures.
"Individual-oriented care puts totally new demands on our healthcare and nursing environments. Here, furniture plays an extremely important role."