Specifying mental health furniture for challenging environments can be hard as there are so many requirements. Service users can be demanding in their needs for furniture that is strong, safe, secure and easy to clean.
This blog takes a look at the 5 reasons why specifying mental health furniture is essential for service users’ safety and mental wellbeing.
1. Withstand More – Heavy Duty Mental Health Furniture
Mental health settings can be volatile at times, it’s not uncommon for service users to try and damage their surroundings, including furniture and fixtures.
Standard cabinet furniture is typically made from chipboard or similar low-impact materials. This level of strength may be suitable for residential or commercial facilities, however, it is much less likely to withstand the demands in mental health environments.
Materials such as melamine faced MDF generally perform to a much higher level. Particularly when it’s reinforced with solid timber and combined with specialist reinforcement components such as:
- Heavy-duty steel drawer runners
- Back blocks
- Double cranked or 270-degree door hinges
- Heavy-duty strip hinges
Some furniture may need to withstand more weight than others, for example, a wardrobe can be seen as a target for climbing. Having a sloping-top installed on top of a wardrobe helps lower the risk of climbing, and also adds more weight to the unit, helping it to withstand the behaviours of stronger, more aggressive service users.
Beds are another area where added durability can be vital to protect the bed from jumping/bouncing behaviours. See for yourself how much weight a Tough Furniture bed can take:
2. Saves Money – Durable Furniture That Lasts
Most healthcare budgets don’t allow for furniture to be replaced 2-3 times a year for damages, which is why specifying the right furniture from the start can save a lot of money over the medium and long terms.
It’s common for furniture to be targeted or become the target of destructive behaviour as it’s present in most spaces.
Replacing furniture often can turn into a kind of game with some service users in mental health environments. For example, if they damage a unit quite easily one day and it is then immediately replaced the next day with a similar unit, they may see this as a challenge and begin a cycle of expensive destruction and replacement.
Specifying furniture that can’t be easily damaged removes the target and takes the challenge away from the service user, which has obvious financial benefits while also keeping the service user safe.
3. Reduces The Risk Of Self Harm – Anti-Ligature Features
Some mental health facilities may care for service users that want to inflict harm on themselves or others. Having furniture that reduces the risk of ligatures helps keep the chances of harm low.
Polycarbonate screens are used in place of glass for screen protection and mirrors. Typically glass is smashed to create a sharp edge to inflict harm or to be broken and used as a weapon. Removing this threat reduces the probability of harm.
The main priority for mental health facilities is to keep their service users and staff safe. Specifying furniture with anti-ligature features reduces the chance of service users harming themselves and others.
4. Increases Safety – Secure Furniture For Challenging Environments
If the mental health facility you’re specifying for has service users that are suicidal or want to inflict harm then having lockable furniture is essential. All utensils in kitchen areas should be locked away securely.
Locks can be installed on any drawer or cupboard and are already present on protection furniture such as tv cabinets and notice boards.
Although locks are important for keeping desired items safe, to get that extra level of protection it’s worth ensuring that access to all potentially harmful objects is controlled.
TV cabinets fully encapsulate the whole TV and the wiring too and noticeboards protect pins and staples from being accessed.
5. Easy To Clean Mental Health Furniture
If a service user has heightened challenging behaviour and they get distressed or lash out they may knock over food and drink, lose control of their bladders and even defecate to protest.
Having furniture that is easy to clean is essential to the staff caring for service users. Wipe clean mental health furniture such as tables, chairs, sofas and mattresses help make cleaning up a less enduring task.
With a variety of materials used across mental health furniture find out how best to clean each material used in the Tough Furniture range.
Specialist mental health furniture makes specifying for challenging environments easier as it’s been uniquely designed to withstand the demands of service users with mental health issues.
Even though challenging behaviours include an array of different behavioural traits, you can still specify products that meet the majority of your safety needs.
Our experts have over 25 years of experience in producing and selecting the right furniture as they have an in-depth knowledge of the capabilities of each range.
Manufactured, designed and made in the UK, the furniture goes through a vigorous quality control check before being delivered to the room and assembled by a specifically trained team.