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The Empath recliner is designed to reduce stress and the potential for injury for both patients and clinicians while increasing physical and emotional connectedness.

Features of the Empath Healthcare Recliner  - Steelcase Health



The Empath recliner is a crucial step forward in the health process – one developed entirely from real-world insights based on thousands of hours of observation and analysis. Its design considers the needs of both patients and clinicians as primary users.

Across healthcare applications, Empath is designed to reduce stress and the potential for injury for both patients and clinicians while increasing physical and emotional connectedness.


Patient leaning on an Empath Recliner armrest Open image tooltip


Our research revealed that clinicians’ top concerns are keeping patients comfortable and safe while promoting overall quality of care. Empath is designed to meet these needs and help empower patients and clinicians alike.

In the patient room.
Empath eases patient transfer, giving clinicians more opportunity to focus on quality interactions and human connection.

In an exam room.
Empath brings clinicians eye-to-eye with patients to encourage communication, teaching and learning.

Close-Up of flip down arm on an Off-white Empath Patient Recliner Open image tooltip


For clinicians, moving patients from bed to chair is inherently difficult due to patient limitations and the number of times these transfers are performed. Empath eases this process.

Easy-Access Arms
Empath dual flip-down arms allow for easy access no matter where the chair is positioned.

Convenient Central Lock
The central locking system has easy-to-activate pedals, located where clinicians need them – tucked in toward the front, on both sides of the chair.

360 magazine patient centered care as big as the world cup Open image tooltip


The Empath recliner offers the safety, versatility and quality needed to serve a number of healthcare environments. With both essential and advanced features, it adapts to a wide range of uses in patient rooms, treatment areas, medical exam spaces, emergency departments and outpatient centers.

Empath adheres to stringent Steelcase standards for durability and performance, with a thorough static and dynamic testing process that exceeds industry standards – for a long product lifespan.


360 magazine statistics prove being a nurse is risky business Open image tooltip


Clinicians and patients both face risks to their safety and comfort – and traditional recliners fail to address the problem.

  • One in three clinicians surveyed has experienced an injury related to performing patient transfers. – Steelcase Health survey
  • Nurses rank second for back injuries suffered on the job, when compared to other professions. – American Nurses Association
  • Eighty percent of patient falls occur in the patient room. – University of Pennsylvania Medicine study
Empath with tablet arm Patient Chair on White Open image tooltip


Our team spent 2,000+ hours observing interactions around patient seating. Then, we surveyed 300+ nurses and other clinicians on their needs and concerns at work.

We saw how conventional recliners caused undue strain and stress for clinicians and their patients. And we found opportunities to improve the experience.

A Better Health Experience
Guided by these discoveries, we developed Empath as an important tool for clinicians and a step toward wellness for patients. Its user-friendly features help create a safer, higher-quality healthcare experience.

Empath Open image tooltip

Clinical Worker Wellbeing

Reimagining healthcare spaces begins with insights about what people want and need. This study serves as a starting point to understand the needs of clinicians. It also confirms that the environment has a big effect on people’s experiences, emotions and behaviors.

View the findings


Life Cycle
LEED Contribution



Designing for Sustainability

We believe the only way to provide the best office furniture solutions is to ensure they’re the best products for the environment. That’s why every step of the way – through design, manufacturing, delivery and product lifecycle – we consider the impact of our work on people and on the environment and uncover opportunities to make things better.

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89 %

Up to


25 %

Up to

recycled content

Life Cycle

Life Cycle


Up to 89% recyclable
Made with up to 25% recycled content

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LEED Contribution

LEED Contribution

Steelcase supports the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification system with products that can contribute to these LEED certification criteria:

  • LEED Building Design + Construction (BD&C)
  • LEED Interior Design + Construction (ID&C)
  • LEED Operations + Maintenance (O&M)

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Certifications can help you choose products that are environmentally sustainable and just right for your project. Empath has achieved the following certifications:

ANSI/BIFMA level Certified

Level 2

Healthier Hospitals

Meets Safer Chemicals Challenge

SCS Indoor Air Advantage Certified


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Standard + Optional Features
Global Availability

Standard + Optional Features

Standard + Optional Features

Standard Features

  • Central lock (dual-sided)
  • Back recline paddles (dual-sided)
  • Footrest control lever
  • Molded urethane upper arms
  • Casters
  • Footrest scallop
  • Bumpers

Optional Features

  • Dual flip-down arms
  • Trendelenburg (dual-sided)
  • Adjustable headrest
  • Tablet arm
  • Directional Steering
  • Push bar
  • Pull-out footrest
  • Heat and massage
  • IV pole and holder
  • Drainage bag holder

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Surface Materials


  • Midnight
  • Sterling Dark
  • Platinum Solid

Thermoform (Tablet Arm)

  • Sand
  • Seagull



Empath Dimensions

Dimensions in inches
Overall depth 31 1/4″
Overall width 31 5/8″
Overall height 46 5/16″
Seat depth 21″
Seat width 23″
Seat height 20″
Arm height 26 3/8″
Full recline 73 3/16″

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Global Availability

Global Availability

This product is available in the following regions:

  • Central America
  • South America
  • North America
  • Middle East
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