Good design addressed needs, and in healthcare—where patients, nurses, doctors, and support staff are all interacting in one environment—there are a lot of people with a lot of different needs. Gary Cruce, design principle at Nemschoff, understands this and the award-winning Oasis overbed table is a result.
Gary and I recently had an opportunity to talk about the design of Oasis.
What are some of the issues relating to overbed tables?
There are a lot of different people competing for the same small space on an overbed table. For patients, it is often the only place they can reach and store things while sitting in bed. Nurses use part of the table for setup and prep when they are in the room. And then, threes times a day it’s cleared to hold a food tray.
Research was a part of the project early on, and we worked closely with Kerrie Cardon, a nurse consultant with Herman Miller Healthcare. A photo survey she put together, for example, really helped us understand all of the ways [an overbed table] was being used.
How did this understanding translate into the design of Oasis?
We started by creating a top with a low-walled space at one end to better organize items, but without being too prescriptive and creating cup holders and niches for specific items. It’s easy to move things there when the nurse is working or the food tray arrives. On the column you sometimes find a box of some kind; we designed a small tray instead, which we left open for easy access and visibility. We added tall edges to the tray to keep things from falling off.