Making the correct choice of healthcare-grade fabrics and proper cleaning procedures throughout its use are keys to its long-term use.

September 16, 2021

Learn How to Make Furniture, Fabrics Last in Healthcare Settings

Interior designers consider the durability and hygienic needs of the facility’s furnishings as they make decisions about materials and their long-term care.

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Soiled or stained furniture, cracked upholstery and the peeling of coated fabrics are common problems in healthcare facilities and a common concern raised to healthcare interior designers. In 2018, the American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers (AAHID) and the Durable Coated Fabrics Task Group (DCF) surveyed more than 150 healthcare designers about their main issue in evaluating upholsteries; 38% cited performance and durability.

What makes the specification and selection of healthcare fabrics so difficult is that often the standard industry tests that designers use to evaluate products do not reflect the real-world cleaning and disinfecting procedures that healthcare systems follow, according to Andrea Kingsbury, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C, an Interior Design Team Lead with FreemanWhite, a Haskell Company.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to elevated cleaning protocols with harsher cleaners, resulting in even more product failures. As these healthcare-grade cleaning protocols are becoming common in other public spaces like airports, restaurants, schools, hotels, and office spaces, there will likely be widespread material breakdowns in the near future.

While the quick fix to solve these breakdowns is replacement upholsteries, problems will continue to occur if fabrics are not cleaned according to manufacturers’ recommendations. Unfortunately, the lack of a consistent cleaning method between differing fabric types means environmental services (EVS) teams are likely to follow just one cleaning procedure for most surfaces.  

Andrea Kingsbury

Kingsbury is a nationally certified interior designer with 14 years’ experience specific to Healthcare Design. Read about the choices and care necessary to create long-term solutions in her piece Specifying Healthcare Grade Fabrics in the COVID Era at FreemanWhite.com. FreemanWhite is an integrated team of architects, engineers, strategists, clinicians, and construction experts who strive to create innovative designs that incorporate cutting-edge technologies to improve patient care, advance healing and provide efficiencies for clinicians and researchers.

Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 1,800 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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