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We were pleased to sponsor the following presentations on BH design subject matter in March. Below are links to access both webinars via the Center for Health Design site, as well as a general description and our recap of key takeaways for each. Thanks for learning with us!

 

Design Strategies that Reduce Aggression in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Facilities

Webinar description: This webinar shares research and case studies that explore how design can be used as a tool complementing therapeutic protocols to reduce patient stress and aggression on pediatric mental health units. Rather than space acting as a control strategy, a more spatially and socially sensitive environment improves safety by elevating patient dignity. Utilizing a human-centered approach to design, strategies examine both tangible and intangible elements and their relationships to spatial and social density that strengthen staff-patient connections, facilitate innovations, and create a safer place for staff to deliver and children to receive mental health treatment. Access the webinar here.

 

Stance’s Key Takeaways: 

  • Design a space that shapes behaviors – not one that attempts to control them. In facilities that support children and adolescents undergoing mental/Behavioral Health treatment, the goal is to see the environment through a human-centered lens. In response, the goal is to create an inviting space that shapes behaviors, instead of an intimidating, and often less effective one that is more oriented around a behavioral-control strategy.
  • Everything in design evokes a response; aim for a space that is inviting, liberating, comforting, therapeutic, approachable, and dignified. Examples include:
    • Reception areas – inviting instead of confrontational
    • Circulation space – liberating instead of scary
    • Bedrooms – comforting instead of cold
    • (Open) nurse stations – approachable instead of alienating
  • Achieve these responses by considering the following aspects of the space:
    • Sight lines (open, nothing hidden)
    • Lighting (soft and/or natural)
    • Materials (comforting, not distracting)
    • Noise (create appropriate space for it in a way that does not amplify throughout the facility)
  • Understand sensory sensitivities and triggers. Depression, anxiety, and BH disorders tend to also present sensory issues for patients. With an understanding of what to avoid from a visual, auditory, touch, and smell standpoint, we can design a space that calms rather than agitates. Examples include:
    • Removing visual clutter, bright lighting, and distracting patterns and using calming colors with soothing materials
    • Eliminating repetitive sounds and “sonic clutter” and reducing “running” noise like toilet flushing sounds
    • Emphasizing materials and supplies that are comforting to the touch and soothe, including weighted blankets
    • Preventing distracting outdoor smells, including trash, perfumes, cleaning products, etc. from filling a space and instead encourage fresh air and aromatherapy
    • Create “cocooning areas” in educational or treatment zones where children can take a break when feeling overwhelmed
  • Prioritize natural light and spacial awareness/movement. The right light and use of space are two hugely impactful ways to design a space that feels overall less institutional. Regarding space: Studies show improved outcomes in patients who experience more physical activity during treatment. To encourage and enable this in your design, always consider balance/movement and spacial awareness of a room, so patients feel a sense of physical freedom vs. restriction. Access to other areas is also an important consideration here – access to landscaped, outdoor areas and patient rooms wrapped around an open space vs. along a narrow corridor are two design choices that can make a big impact. Regarding light, create spaces that offer patients as much access to natural daylight as possible throughout the facility, and always seek out opportunities for windows and soft lighting vs. overhead lights. 

 

Thank you to webinar presenters, Scott Holmes and Melanie Baumhover for sharing their insights with us!

 

The Future of the Behavioral Healthcare Care Team Station

Webinar description: As the treatment and model of care for inpatient behavioral health continuously evolves, so too should the physical environment in which care is delivered. With a heightened focus on patient dignity, and staff safety, along with improved technology, now is the time to re-think the future of the behavioral health care team station. Taking advantage of the collective knowledge and expertise in attendance, this webinar will offer interdisciplinary perspectives to evaluate current cutting edge design solutions, help attendees to develop solutions of their own, and inspire further research with the aspiration to transform the future of the care team station in inpatient behavioral health settings. Access the webinar here

 

Stance’s Key Takeaways: 

As patient-centered care continues to be a driving principle of modern healthcare design, Behavioral Health team care stations are one impactful way to continue this evolution. Overall, the goal here is to create a station that puts patients in the center, rather than the previous model that places a closed team station in the middle of a room – which has had the unfortunate effect of instilling an “us vs. them” dynamic. The new approach is designed to put patients at ease and on the same level as their care providers, physically and psychologically. 

 

How to put patients in the center of a care station zone?

  • Encourage interaction between care providers and patients by removing barriers to nurse stations and offering more seating for care providers 
  • Allow for therapeutic activities to take place in the care station zone by designing a layout which encourages free conversation and engagement
  • Maintain safety, keeping sight lines open

 

Areas that inspire a more collaborative, inviting space for patients and care providers to engage include:

  • The kitchen and kitchen table: Round seating arrangement, eye contact encouraged, appropriate spacing between people, all on same physical level, gathering together feels natural
  • Living room: Different options for seating/engaging are available, comfortable seating, option for free movement
  • Outdoor/garden spaces: Fresh air and nature naturally put both parties at ease, open space relieves stress and feeling of confinement

 

Thank you to webinar presenters, Brian Giebink and Stephanie Vito for sharing their insights with us!

 

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Perfect for Behavioral Health facilities, Stance Healthcare’s Resilia Drum Table features a Marmoleum™ surface that makes it extremely durable and easy-to-clean. Combining that with Resilia’s unique appearance, which helps provide an environment that feels overall less institutional, is what makes this award winner ideal for any healthcare setting. The concept behind this standout, highly functional design was years in the making.

 

Years before healthcare designer, Suzanne Fawley, joined the Stance Healthcare design team, she made an observation that would plant the seed for Resilia. While designing for high-impact medical facilities, Suzanne kept running into a recurring problem that seemed to be a common refrain for many healthcare settings: specifically, they all had a laminate problem. The popular surface material for healthcare furnishings is prone to splitting when worn or punctured, and its sharp edges create potential for immediate safety issues in such environments.

 

“While working as a designer in a prison hospital, I was concerned with a chair that had a laminate side panel which began to chip and split. In these types of high-impact settings, something like split laminate can quickly become a weapon for self-injury or harm to others,” says Fawley. “I knew there was an opportunity to replace laminate furniture with something safer and more durable, and I began to seek a solution.”

 

Suzanne began researching alternate materials with durability being top priority. Her first instinct – using a flooring product that withstands daily wear – ultimately led her to Forbo Marmoleum™, the nontoxic, naturally durable and sustainable surface material that would answer the call. In 2016, Suzanne pitched the idea as a new furniture collection to Stance Healthcare’s Bruce and Carl Kennedy, and within a year, Resilia was born.

 

The Resilia Drum Table’s modern and practical design, in combination with its innovative surface materials, made it a fast award winner: The product took home Healthcare Design’s 2017 Nightingale GOLD Award in the same year it launched. Three years later, the table is a popular seller for the company due to its winning combination of long-term durability and pleasing aesthetics.

 

“Resilia is a completely different take on the industry status quo for these types of tables, which are still typically just laminate weighted cylinders,” says Fawley. “For healthcare facilities, you can’t find a better quality investment for your space, as this is a product that will stand the test of time. Resilia is the most durable, cleanable drum table available – and most importantly, that translates to safer environments for the users it serves.”

 

Resilia is available in 10 different size selections, including two oval options released in 2020.

 

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Behavioral Health design insights from Stance’s BH Interior Designer, Suzanne Fawley

 

For interior designers and facility planners, the differences between Behavioral Health (BH) interior design and

general healthcare design must be considered first when beginning a BH project. With a solid understanding of

a project’s why – i.e., why must this project be treated differently than a general healthcare space, and why is a patient, visitor, or care provider going to be here? – we can then explore and apply the multi-faceted criteria needed to successfully design for Behavioral Health, ultimately best serving the end-user.

 

Comfort Mentally and Comfort Physically: Designing for BH starts by understanding the difference

Why are there differences in BH and general healthcare design? Typically, general healthcare design decisions must consider the masses – the influx of people in and out of medical settings for a variety of reasons. With Behavioral Health design, however, the designer must begin with a deeper and more acute understanding of the characteristics of and differences in two major differentiating points of design emphasis: Comfort Mentally and Comfort Physically. Considering both of these in tandem means prioritizing the dignity of the patient.

 

Connecting Comfort to Dignity

I participated in a bariatric research study years ago, where I met with over 60 bariatric candidates that averaged 100 pounds over their ideal body weight. For the morbidly obese, most also suffer from depression. One of their stories has resonated with me throughout my career. Emotionally, they shared that the most hurtful of their experiences is when the scale in a typical medical office building would be out in the hallway for all to see. When the scale would not register past 400 pounds, they were asked to go to their local Feed and Seed store to be weighed. In this case, their dignity was not considered at all.

 

Here is the point: Even the most beautiful, safe, functional facility will not repair the damage that was done emotionally. Though design for general healthcare benefits from this introspection early in the process, in no instance is this more important than when designing for Behavioral Health treatment facilities. Most notably, the subtle nuances of each Behavioral Health facility will define the specific needs for each environment, as one size does not fit all for BH. General healthcare and BH spaces do, however, share the goal of creating a safe, durable and comfortable experience for the patient, caregiver and patient support.

 

Mapping out your BH project: A Blueprint about Whom?

As a former Interior Design Manager for a large architectural firm, I can attest that interior designers are often given a healthcare project without ever meeting the client or interacting with the end-users of a space, including patients, visitors, and care providers. Pushing out projects can almost be factory-like, just getting the project done. However, understanding the who before you begin a Behavioral Health project is the difference between a “purposefully designed” BH environment and one that is based on what is assumed to be BH appropriate. 

 

Along these lines, below are a few framework thoughts to consider when planning a Behavioral Health project.

 

Building Blocks for Designing a BH Space
 

  1. First, identify exactly whom the space will serve and understand the “zones of risk”. As referenced earlier, whereas general healthcare for the most part has to be designed for the masses, for Behavioral Health, each facility may have a specific specialty and must be designed per type of mental health facility and type of treatment modalities that will be used to help those with a variety of mental health issues. Find out who will be treated at the facility and what specific requirements should be considered before you begin interior design planning. Equally important is understanding the needs of the “Zones of Risk”. These areas are defined as Public Space that is supervised at all times, Patient Treatment or Consultative Space, and Patient Solitude, where the risk is heightened due to the patient’s alone time. These zones determine the type of furniture required within the facility. Additionally, rotationally molded furniture should not be the go-to for all areas of BH facilities. It is appropriate in some areas of risk, but from a “mentally comfortable” standpoint, it may appear cold and de-emphasize human dignity.
     
  2. Develop a team that includes C-suite decision-makers, nurses, care-givers and facility managers. Also consider personal relationships you may have with those who have experienced the need for Mental and Behavioral Healthcare. Behavioral Health projects follow a unique design philosophy from start to finish. To ensure the needs are met from every aspect throughout the process, begin your project by first asking for a meeting with the end-user client, and form the rest of your team from there, drawing especially from the experience of those that work in the environment everyday. Recently, I assisted the Jonas Hill Hospital Team in Lenoir, NC. The project turned out beautifully because the CEO Laura Easton and Alicia Stansilaw, Service Line Director Psychiatry, developed a working team that included the architectural/interior design team as well as myself, specializing in BH furniture and Interior Design. The education that comes from working with people who are knowledgeable and passionately engaged is invaluable.
     
  3. Be a great listener – and rely on what works best, not on trends. Find out from the “team” what interior finishes and furniture selections have worked in the past, and what they want to stay away from. If they don’t have a lot of feedback, it’s time to educate yourself and reach out to people in the industry that may be more experienced. Make sure you are thoughtfully selecting finishes and furniture instead of leaning on trends or what is perceived to be the best for BH. This applies to the BH color palette, pattern and artwork as well. Trend does not determine what is best for the facilities. Color and pattern can be soothing, but can also be a trigger for those undergoing Behavioral Health treatment.
     
  4. And finally, understand how BH furniture is made differently. While general healthcare furniture can be used in some areas of a BH facility, BH furniture products have specific characteristics that enhance the overall criteria of safety, comfort and long-term durability. This means that BH furniture construction includes tamper-resistant attachments, ligature-resistant design, no sharp corners, weighted options and overall finishes that will withstand abuse. For example, one of the trickiest materials is laminate. Laminate splits easily upon impact, making it easy to pull and strip off to create a weapon to hurt the user or others. The Stance Resilia for BH product was intentionally designed to prevent laminate stripping by using Forbo Marmoleum on the surround. Using laminate in BH must be considered per area or “zones of risk” as referenced above. Again, research and learn about the many differences in the BH environment in order to specify appropriately.

 

As Stance’s Behavioral Health Interior Designer, what makes my role fun and fulfilling is assisting designers and facility managers. My goal is to encourage them to enjoy the process of Behavioral Health Design by helping them make appropriate selections that lead to facilities that are safe, comfortable, functional and most of all, consider the dignity of the guests.

 

Learn more about the history and motivations behind Behavioral Health design by attending Suzanne’s IDCEC accredited CEU, Behavioral Health Design: Learning from the Past to Design for the Future, sponsored by Stance Healthcare. Contact sawyer.l@stancehealthcare.com today to inquire about your group course, worth 1.5 IDCEC credits per participant.

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PROJECT DESCRIPTION

 

Originally intended to be housed within Caldwell Memorial Hospital, Jonas Hill Hospital and Clinic is a 27-bed stand-alone facility providing adult inpatient and outpatient psychiatric healthcare.

 

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

 

• Comfortable individual lounge pieces used in the group consult rooms to provide comfort and flexibility instead of more typical clinical side chairs
• Group consult room features full-size wall mural imagery to provide a calming atmosphere and coordinating armless lounge chairs
• Patient rooms feature 1-piece roto-molded bed for ultimate durability, yet specified in a soothing Chateau Grey finish for a more residential feel

 

INTERIOR FURNITURE DESIGN: Suzanne Phillips Fawley, IDS Stance Healthcare Behavioral Health Design Specialist

 

ARCHITECT: CPL Charlotte, NC

 

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As pioneers in designing furniture for mental and behavioral health, we are proud sponsors of the Center for Health Design’s virtual full-day workshop focused on innovative and effective design strategies that support behavioral health populations. On September 23rd the workshop will begin with a keynote on the State of Practice in Behavioral Health Care and Design, followed by discussions on safety, whole-person health, and getting outside! It’s going to be a great day of information and will also include the opportunity to virtually mix and mingle with other attendees.

 

For more information, or to register for the event, visit https://www.healthdesign.org/events/264

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In partnership with The Center for Health Design, we’re thrilled to offer 2 free behavioral health educational opportunities at the end of this month.

 

Webinar 1

  • Behavioral Health Outpatient Care in a Post Pandemic World
  • Understand how the pandemic has impacted outpatient behavioral health care.
  • Identify pandemic-inspired changes to reimbursement and operational models.
  • Explore new priorities and solutions related to outpatient behavioral health design.
  • Formulate conclusions about what changes will remain, and what will return to normal.

 

Webinar 2
Recent Mental Health Projects: The Newest Lessons Learned

  • Learn about changes in CMS and Joint Commission patient safety requirements and the cascading impact of those requirements on mental health project costs, scope, and schedules.
  • Identify early lessons learned from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on both operating mental health facilities and projects in the planning and design process.
  • Explore recent and emerging clinical changes impacting mental health facility design.
  • Understand the underlying rationale for recent trends in the mental health facility planning and design.
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Stance Healthcare was proud to co-sponsor a recent webinar from The Center for Health Design on designing for Behavioral Health settings. In addition to providing timely insight into the many considerations that go into Behavioral Health facility planning, the presentation reinforced much of the “why” behind what we do to support these environments with our furniture. Below are key takeaways connecting to our Behavioral Health design approach here at Stance Healthcare:

 

  1. First things first: Understand and use correct terminology. Behavioral Health design requires an adherence to certain levels of compliance and safety precautions which are not factors in other healthcare settings. Specifically, facility planners must prioritize self-harm safeguards for every room in a BH facility. To this end, key terms like ligature-resistant (suicide-preventive), tamper-resistant (unable to be removed or altered), shatter-resistant (unable to be made into shards for self-harm), pick-proof (unable to be peeled back), and sealed (not able to be used to hide weapons or contraband) are frequent qualifiers for materials in a BH space, and must be readily accessible for both furniture designers and facility planners. Stance Healthcare’s Behavioral Health collections check all these boxes, and more.
     
  2. The ‘new’ approach to BH prioritizes dignity in the healing process. Mental and Behavioral Health treatment philosophy has evolved from the past era that conjures uncomfortable and, in some cases, inhumane experiences for patients – and advanced toward more therapeutic settings which are truly focused on the patient’s healing process. Dignity is a guiding principle behind Stance Healthcare’s BH design philosophy, and our award-winning Frontier collection showcases how we provide both comfort and pleasing aesthetics alongside durability and functionality. We take pride in designing innovative and intuitive furniture that anticipates the needs of Behavioral Health patients, caregivers, and visitors.
     
  3. Furniture, like anything else in a BH environment, shouldn’t be a distraction. In the effort to support a healing-oriented space, facility planners must select furnishings that encourage calm. The best way to do this? Choose furniture that isn’t loud – in color, in shape, or even in function. In other words, BH furniture should offer muted, non-distracting colors; simple, pleasing, and practical shapes; and straightforward function that serves a useful purpose for patients, and nothing more. Such considerations are what we had in mind for Stance Healthcare’s Frontier bed, with its discreet fluid removal features, and counterpart Frontier flip-style bedside table, which can accommodate approved personal items.

In this time of growing demand for Mental and Behavioral Health treatment environments, we are always appreciative of the opportunity to discuss best practices. Stay tuned to Stance Healthcare’s social media and blog for continued insights and BH product announcements throughout the year.

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Frontier collection adds desk, shelving to innovative line designed to support dignity, healing

 

TORONTO, ON (February 13, 2020) – Stance Healthcare, a furniture designer and manufacturer specializing in Behavioral Health spaces, has added two new products to their award-winning Frontier collection. The acclaimed product line now includes two shelving units and desk, in addition to the 2019 Nightingale Gold Award-winning bed and bedside table. The latest offerings are available for purchase Thursday, February 13.

 

These new products continue the Stance Healthcare collection’s signature emphasis on durability with a comforting aesthetic. As with the bed and flip-style, multi-use bedside table, the bookshelf and desk were developed with a goal of “realistic functionality” that prioritizes safety. The rotationally-molded products feature rounded corners and are manufactured with naturally pick-proof materials for patients experiencing Behavioral Health treatment.

 

“With a variety of care modules evolving for Behavioral Health, yesterday’s one-size-fits-all approach to interior design no longer works. The various areas of the facility must be treated independently,” said Suzanne Fawley, Stance Healthcare’s Behavioral Health interior designer who developed the Frontier line with the company. “The Frontier line supports each patient’s specific treatment experience, making the caretaking process easier, cleaner, and less interruptive – while offering a less clinical, more residential feel.”

 

In addition to the new desk, the line expansion offers both two-shelf and three-shelf wall mount unit options. The design style behind the shelving follows that of the award-winning Frontier collection: They accommodate patients’ specific needs, per treatment need and length of stay. The two-shelf option offers patients convenient storage for journaling or coloring book therapy, or alternately as clothing storage for a short-term stay. The three-shelf option can accommodate approved personal and expanded clothing items for a longer period of stay. Both options offer a pleasing aesthetic which eliminates visual clutter, thus supporting a quiet environment for Behavioral Health patients in treatment.

 

“As pioneers in Behavioral Health design, Stance Healthcare innovates award-winning products that prioritize dignity in the treatment process, improving the quality of healthcare experiences for patients, visitors, and caregivers,” said Carl Kennedy, Stance Healthcare’s president. “We are proud of the way our Frontier collection addresses these unique needs and are looking forward to offering even more furniture options with the shelving and desk additions.”

 

Stance Healthcare’s Behavioral Health products, including the Frontier collection, support the evolving demand for increased Mental & Behavioral Health treatment facilities across the U.S. The Frontier shelving and desks are available to purchase by calling Stance Healthcare customer service at 1-877-395-2623 beginning February 13. 

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