© Gillian Page-Lee
for BPSM Architects
Persuading clients to have confidence in taking what they might perceive as somewhat of a risk might be thought of as a foolish move, but when you are talking about adding value to their business, it becomes a far more palatable option.
Many Aged Care groups have their own in-house procurement officer or group of staff responsible for the selection and purchasing of furniture, furnishings and artwork for their facilities. They are not always willing to engage the services of the Architect or Interior Design professional to undertake this part of the fit-out of new premises, or indeed the replacement of existing furniture and furnishings that have passed their used-by date. It is easy to understand their rationale in this decision. However it may well be possible, and more probable that they are not aware of the intrinsic value that this would be, especially in terms of their ongoing Accreditation process. The business of achieving the Accreditation Standards through demonstrating continuous improvement is a challenging one at the best of times. Our professional knowledge of materials, products, furniture and furnishings that meet these criteria is far greater than most facility staff have, as it is our business to constantly update our product knowledge and to be experts in the field of specification of such.
We believe that it is in our clients best interest to engage with us for this side of design fit out so that they can be assured of best possible products which meet the needs of the Cared–for and Carers alike. Key areas of our concern are Incontinence Management and Infection Control together with being conscious of Pain Management and Skin Care. To this end we actively research and work together with suppliers to find the best possible floor coverings, furniture and furnishings for successful outcomes. Floor finishes are vitally important in achieving not only the correct building standards, but also an excellent level of comfort, practicability, and wearability.
The selection of wall finishes, such as type of paints and decorative wallpapers, are important to the health and well being of residents and staff. Low VOC paints are vital in refurbishment work as well as new facilities. Decorative vinyl wallpapers can create an ambience of comfort, glamour, or simply wellbeing. Furniture is a smorgasbord of options. Knowing exactly, for example, what chair is going to give the user comfort, support, and assist them in being pain free, is our job. The upholstery, bedcovers and window treatments are equally significant. Upholstery needs to meet incontinence requirements and be easy to clean; material for bedcovers and window treatments need to be easy to maintain, and simultaneously anti-microbial, anti-fungal and visually pleasing.
Our suppliers are experts in their products, and today have a far greater dedication to ongoing development and sustainability than ever before. It is just as much in our best interest to work with these suppliers as it is to develop strong relationships with our clients because in the end we are all pursuing the same goal; one of excellence and partnership.
We work with many different suppliers, but one worth mentioning here is Healthcraft, an Aged and Healthcare furniture and furnishing specialist company who are dedicated to continual design development of suitable products. Their website has further information regarding accreditation.
We are in the position of being able to guide our clients to use the sorts of products that will be fit for purpose, achieve necessary codes and standards, create a lovely environment, have easy manoeuvrability and add value to the client’s business.