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MANAGING DIRECTOR OF LifeCare Furniture,
Ian Reinhardt says a 10-month research
partnership with QUT'S School of Design has
validated and strengthened the company's
focus on the specific needs of residents and
their carers when designing furniture for the
aged care industry.
After more than 20 years' experience in
designing and manufacturing furniture for
the aged care industry, Mr Reinhardt said
LifeCare Furniture has remained focused on
the specific needs of residents and carers and
committed to innovation.
He says that while other companies have
diversified into contract manufacturing for other
sectors, LifeCare Furniture has knuckled down
and invested heavily in research and design to
meet the specific needs of the people who live
and work in the aged care industry.
"In December 2015, LifeCare Furniture
partnered with QUT's School of Design, to
identify the specific seating needs of residents
and carers in the aged care industry.
"We wanted to take fresh look at how we
are meeting the needs of our clients and
"We wanted to look beyond great
aesthetics and get to the heart of what is really
important in terms of seating design, practical
use and comfort," he said.
"Under the direction of QUT's Associate
Professor Thea Blackler, a team of researchers
undertook detailed investigations into the
seating needs of the aged care industry.
"These investigations involved staff
and residents from five different aged care
providers, historical research into seat design
and a literature review.
"Providers such as Regis Aged Care
generously participated in the study, which will
help us continue to raise the expectations of
what is required in this unique industry."
Mr Reinhardt says that LifeCare Furniture's
goal is to remain at the forefront of the industry.
"We are very pleased that our investment
in QUT research has both validated our design
approach and given us fantastic data from which
to design some exciting new products," he said.
QUT's research team identified the
experiences and collected behavioural data
of people's behaviours around chairs and the
factors that influenced how they used chairs in
an aged care setting.
QUT's research covered issues as diverse as:
• Ideal sitting positions
• Disc nutrition
• Chair rise strategies
• Seat width and height
• The use of two and three seaters, and
• The specific needs of carers and
Associate Professor Blacker said the
QUT School of Design report provided a
comprehensive picture of seating in the
aged care industry, and provided a set of
design parameters that will influence how
LifeCare Furniture approach their future
"From our research, an emerging aspect
to be considered is the critical importance
of aligning chairs' designs to current and
emerging models of aged care and wellness
that have influence on the activities of
residents and staff engaged in aged care
centres," she said.
"While the sector is currently not heavily
influenced by any particular model of care,
in the future chairs designed for aged care
centres will probably need to meet more
specific requirements, matching models of
care and wellness."
Mr Reinhardt says the research has given
his company an even deeper understanding
of the exact issues that residents and staff
have with chairs in their facilities.
"The research has also given us a set of
recommendations for the design of chairs
which we have incorporated into our existing
products and a new range of exciting
products which will be rolled out in 2017." n
'At the forefront of the industry'
About LifeCare Furniture
Founded in the early 1990s, LifeCare Furniture has become a leading Australian supplier of
tailored bedroom, lounge, dining, occasional and outdoor furniture to the Australian health
and aged care industries.
We pride ourselves on supplying quality, purpose-built furniture that creates an
aesthetically pleasing, home-like environment for residents
Our experience, combined with observation and practical input from nursing staff,
occupational therapists and physiotherapists, has helped us create collections of furniture
that satisfy the needs of residents and their carers, while creating aesthetically pleasing
and comfortable living spaces.
Go to lifecarefurniture.com.au
Leading furniture supplier LifeCare Furniture says
its investment in research has validated its design
approach and informs exciting new products.
Chair rise strategies
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