With the help of some industry experts, we look into the importance of balancing ergonomics and aesthetics within a care home.

 When considering functionality versus appearance in a care home, it’s important to strike a balance between both aspects to create an optimal living environment for residents.

We understand that ultimately, a care home should prioritise functionality to ensure the safety, accessibility, and efficient operation of the facility. However, creating an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable environment is also important for the wellbeing and happiness of residents.

 Peter A. Andersson, Designer at Modern Motion Ltd, explained that despite there being so many scientific studies, we can comfortably say that an ergonomic chair is designed to best support the human body, with important attention to posture, comfort, support, health, and safe human interaction between a seating position, but differs for different areas of use: “For care homes, a chair should be designed for comfort and style. We design chairs that can be used in both a care home, and a family home, for all ages”, added Peter.

When it comes to seating within a care home, Peter explained that there are a plethora of factors which need to be considered, including seat height and adjustments, depth, base, whether swivel or static, and whether it is available in different widths.

“Many homes are starting to look more carefully into changing the design based on the type of space, and it’s important to note that the right environment can help reduce residents’ stress and depression levels.

“Environment changes don’t only help the residents, but they also improve staff morale. These changes could include chairs that can be moved easily, and can have added benefits, including extra vinyl covers and the option for adding on other accessories.”

It is extremely important to make a resident feel at home in their new environment and for this reason, a sense of belonging is paramount.

Interior designers usually understand the need for different spaces in relation to mental health issues and therefore, different chairs. Peter explained that these could be introduced in a range of different areas: “This could be the reception area, the offices, and perhaps a lounge or dining area, it can make your care home feel less cosy and more corporate. So, coordination within the room using the chair as a centre point can be very calming for residents.”

To the team at Wissner Bosserhoff and in the context of a care home, ergonomic interiors is promoting the design and arrangement of the living spaces, furniture and fixtures in a way that promotes comfort, accessibility and wellbeing for the residents.

“The design and arrangement of furniture, lighting and other elements are tailored to meet the specific needs of individuals, allowing them to navigate the space easily, maintain their independence and enhance their quality of life,” said Stacey Taylor, Marketing Manager at Wissner Bosserhoff UK.

 As a manufacturer of profiling care beds, Wissner Bosserhoff understand the significance of striking the right balance between functionality and aesthetics within a care home environment. The design and appearance of care home facilities and equipment can greatly impact the overall wellbeing and quality of life of a resident. After all, it is their home and a place they want to feel safe, comfortable, at peace and where they can thrive and make new memories in their later years.

The care staff must also support and create a welcoming space for the family and friends who come to visit their loved ones.

The primary objective of a care home is to provide a safe and comfortable environment for residents in need of care and support, particularly those with mobility or health issues. Stacey believes that functionality should be a top priority when designing care beds: “Features such as adjustable height, backrest and leg elevation, as well as easy-to-use controls can enhance residents’ comfort and facilitate their daily activities. Functional design elements contribute to the efficient operation of the care home, and support the staff in delivering quality care and making light work of otherwise labour intensive care tasks.”

Aesthetically pleasing profiling care beds can have a positive impact on residents’ emotional wellbeing. The Wissner Bosserhoff design incorporates elements that promote relaxation and prevent the risk of pressure injury, such as the double retraction platform, designed to increase the space in the seated area for effective pressure redistribution.

Stacey sees that soft upholstery options also present an added level of comfort, softening the design: “The right balance of functionality and aesthetics in a care home’s design contributes massively to a calming and soothing atmosphere, with better outcomes for the individual whilst improving the overall quality of life for residents.”

Aesthetics can influence the perception of care home facilities for residents and their families. Stacey believes that care homes that prioritise aesthetics along with functionality create an environment that feels inviting and comfortable, and this can then contribute to a positive reputation, encourage a sense of community and attract new residents.

 Ergonomic interiors prioritise adjustable features that cater to the unique needs of individual residents, and the universal profiling bed platform from Wissner Bosserhoff has been designed to do just that. Instead of replacing the bed altogether when it no longer caters to a person’s level of mobility or care needs, now providers can just adapt the one they have with different side panel configurations, side guards, design options or useful mobilisation aids that can be added retroactively. These adaptations can also be done independently and with ease by the carer without the need for tools or taking the bed out of service whilst waiting for maintenance intervention – saving valuable nursing time and improving the efficiency of care.

Stacey said: “We know lighting plays an important role in creating an ergonomic care home environment. It can help prevent falls, promote visibility and reduce eye strain. Wissner Bosserhoff beds focus on this with clever inserts on the bed frame that allow for integrated bed lamps that are powered by the energy efficient motor.” This reduces the need for additional bedside lamps meaning the resident doesn’t have to stretch over or call for nursing staff to turn on and off. In the comfort of their bed they can independently turn on or off the light, for example when they want to read, and this also reduces the need for additional overhead spotlights in the room.

How a space looks and feels has a major impact on a person’s overall mood and wellbeing. The bedroom should be a person’s safe haven and should be a calm and peaceful place to retreat to, relax or rest. Colour schemes and interior design elements should be chosen carefully to avoid overly stimulating or confusing visual patterns. The bed takes pride of place in a bedroom setting and is probably one of the most intensively used pieces of furniture and can be used for longer periods of time should a person’s functional mobility reduce. It needs to feel stable, robust, operate smoothly and seamlessly without noises that could startle or disturb that peace.

“When it comes to how the bed looks, nowadays there are so many avenues to go down with the bed design and many options that can be presented. Long gone are the days of cold electric metal profiling frames.” Stacey said.

There’s now the option for luxury, hotel-like designs, quality wood decors in an array of shades, premium upholstered designs in any material, fabric, pattern and colour, but along with choice comes careful consideration when it comes to beds. For individuals in a care home who may suffer with dementia, Stacey explained that they can think about two tone colour contrast wood frames to help residents visualise and identify the edges of the bed: “We can introduce light reflecting values and contrasts as well as consideration for the height of the footboard being lower than the headboard to help with eye level across the room, and for the individual feeling less anxious when they have a clearer view of a person who may be entering or leaving the room whilst they are in bed.

In conclusion, finding the right balance between functionality and aesthetics is essential in care home design. From the perspective of the experts, care beds and other furniture that prioritises safety, comfort, dignity, and autonomy, whilst incorporating visually appealing elements, can greatly enhance the overall wellbeing and quality of life for residents. By considering both functional and aesthetic aspects, care homes can create environments that are not only practical but also emotionally satisfying , nice places to be and supportive for their residents and care staff.