How to: choose a chair for an aged-care facility

10 April 2018

When searching for the right chair for your aged-care facility it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options. From the deluxe to the cheap and cheerful (or the just downright cheap) the variation in quality is enormous, and it doesn’t always correlate to price. So how can you make sure you are getting the most for your dollar? Check off these five things and you are well on your way:

Durability

I’m guessing that you are not planning to replace these chairs in six months, right? That means a decent life-span must be a major consideration in your purchase. Your chairs need to be made from high quality upholstery, have a multiple year warranty and be able to be serviced or have parts replaced locally. They will also need to be able to take a high weight loading to cater for heavier patients and visitors. Check off these factors and you will have a better chance of selecting a long-lasting chair with a lower lifetime cost.

Hygiene

This, no doubt, is already near the top of your list. In any aged-care or medical facility, chairs need to be easily sterilised in the case of patient incontinence or other hygiene concerns. During an outbreak of an infectious disease, all equipment must be able to be kept sterile at all times in order to minimise the risk of patient infection. Not all fabrics will be able to be made fully sterile.

Versatility/maneuverability

Chairs that are difficult to move are a nightmare for nurses and aged-care staff. To accommodate changing patient and facility use needs, furniture configurations need to be flexible. For example, a resident may temporarily require medical equipment situated alongside their chair, maybe they would like to sit in a group with visitors or be beside their window for a time, perhaps they need to be reclined in a different position or be able to elevate their legs. Chairs that can be easily maneuvered give patients the flexibility to choose where they would like to be and also allow staff to access patients without asking them to relocate. If a chair can recline to a fully flat position, visitors have the additional benefit of being able to stay overnight in a hospital level care situation. Choosing a versatile aged-care chair will give patients the best quality of care and help you to get the most out of your facility’s space.

Aesthetics

All aged-care facilities would like their environment to be pleasant and welcoming for residents and their guests. Choosing a chair which supports this feeling is important. Colour, texture, fabric and shape should all be considered. Ask questions such as: Does this chair go with our existing furniture? Does it make the room feel lighter and brighter or am I going for a more cosy feel?  Nobody wants to be surrounded with drab and unattractive furniture and with the endless options available for purchase there is really no need.

Bonus extras

With the gradual retirement of the baby boomer generation, the demographic profile of aged-care residents is changing. Older people are now using and interested in technology and many incoming residents will have cell phones, iPads or laptops. There are now aged-care chairs that come with USB charger ports, PowerPoints and tablets. Is this something that would make your facility stand out to a changing client base?