Steelcase Health wins Nightingale Award for Empath Recliner at HCD

Steelcase Health wins Nightingale Award for Empath Recliner at HCD

Nashville – November 16, 2011 – Steelcase Health has earned a fourth prestigious Nightingale Award at the annual Healthcare Design 2011 Conference for its new recliner, Empath.

In healthcare, every interaction between a patient and caregiver matters. Steelcase Health helps support these moments by understanding people and asking whether the environment is doing everything it can to support their needs.

For Empath, Steelcase Health considered caregivers as “users” as much as patients and created a recliner that offers a variety of versatile, insight-driven design features to accommodate the needs of both

Steelcase Health’s Director of Product Design, Alan Rheault said, “by putting ourselves in their shoes and being empathetic to the realities of both patients and caregivers, Empath creates a safer, higher quality healthcare experience for both. It is truly a complete healthcare solution.”

Research and Insight Driven Design

For its latest product design, Steelcase Health invested more than 2,000 hours of observation, photography and video research into what occurs between patient and caregiver as it relates to the recliner – a central component of patient care and recovery. This study of how recliners are used led Steelcase Health to a simple conclusion — recliners needed to do more to help reduce risks to patients and caregivers.

“Watching caregivers transfer patients from the bed to the chair and back again was an ‘a-ha’ moment for the research and design team,” said Rheault.

For the patient, moving to the chair is a crucial step toward wellness. They are one step closer to going home. At the same time, patient transfer is an inherently difficult, dynamic process. It’s dynamic due to the sheer number of times a patient is moved from the bed to the chair and then back again. Factor in the physical limitations of the patient and the potential for injury — to patient and caregiver — is clear.

Researchers witnessed caregivers straining backs and patients bruising hips during bed-to-chair transfers. Malfunctioning or easily broken mechanisms caused even more discomfort and difficulty. “In essence, our role is to turn our careful observations into insight-based designs,” said Rheault. “This leads to better, safer, higher quality healthcare experiences.”

Enter Empath

In response, Steelcase Health presents Empath, an important tool for caregivers and a step toward wellness for patients.

“We considered the chair as a holistic healthcare solution – not just an assembly of available, off-the-shelf parts. We used our engineering expertise to improve, enhance and ensure a higher level of quality in Empath, while at the same time making it feature-rich with options appropriate for a wide variety of healthcare environments,” said Rheault.

To be a “best in class” product, Steelcase Health built Empath with thoughtful, user-friendly design features.

For caregivers, Empath offers a newly-designed central lock mechanism that can be activated from the front on either side and makes this recliner intuitive and easy to use. Optional dual folding arms allow for easy patient transfers from either side. A drainage bag holder and IV pole are integrated into the chair for increased functionality and as an additional safety feature, Trendenlenburg is also available.

For patients, highly-durable, yet soft “I-skin” arm material helps reduce injuries. Long, easy to reach reclining paddles and an optional adjustable headrest give patients comfort and control. Sculpted grip arms assist in getting in and out and make the chair a welcome destination.

Sturdy, Silent and Sophisticated

Its steel construction makes Empath one of the most durable recliners on the market. In addition, Empath sports the most fluid casters available today — making this recliner quiet and easy to move — even with someone in it.

From a style standpoint, Empath presents a clean, sophisticated look in a compact, compressed footprint. It offers a refined, inviting aesthetic that’s neither overly residential nor overly clinical.

Empath is a complete recliner, designed from the ground up as an integrated, holistic solution and easily fits into nearly any healthcare environment. For patients, Empath is inviting and comfortable. For caregivers, Empath is safe and easy to use, which provides them with a sense of confidence to help create a truly healing environment.

For more information, visit Empath.

Steelcase Health’s Fourth Nightingale Award

The 2011 Nightingale Awards honor new healthcare products introduced to the U.S. market since November 2010.

They are awarded based on the product’s contribution to the quality of healthcare, functionality, quality, aesthetics, environmental sustainability and pricing, and are judged by a distinguished panel of interior designers and architects that specialize in healthcare design.

The Nightingale Awards product design competition is sponsored by Contract Magazine in association with The Center for Health Design and The Healthcare Design Conference.

“Healthcare outcomes can be improved for patients and families and those people that provide care in North America and worldwide,” said Kyle Williams, Steelcase Health’s General Manager.

“We have a great deal of research and insight going into developing a variety of new solutions addressing significant problems — not only around new technologies, but new types of spaces and environments. Earning another Nightingale Award is a tremendous honor for Steelcase Health and reinforces our commitment to research-based solutions and our effort to continuously strive to offer the highest quality products.”

This is the fourth Nightingale Award for Steelcase Health, with the company’s Opus Overbed Table, SYNC centralized and decentralized workstations and Pocket mobile workstations as previous award winners.

About Steelcase Health

Steelcase Health is a company dedicated to providing user-centered solutions in healthcare. Steelcase Health views the healthcare environment as an integral part of the healing process and provides holistic solutions that focus not only on product, but space as a whole, delivering research-driven, evidence-based solutions to complex problems in healthcare environments. For more information on Steelcase Health please visit Health.