If we ever needed a reminder that we are social beings who thrive on connection, the past year's events gave us unmistakable proof. As staggering as the effect of social isolation has been on all of us, we can't forget the toll it has taken on those who were already facing serious health challenges. Leaders in behavioral health often say recovery is about connection, which is why offering safe and comfortable spaces for patients to interact should be part of any healing environment.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., made the case in his book Together that loneliness had become a public health crisis. A 2020 policy brief published in Health Affairs (suggests that social disconnection increases the risk of death from all causes. The brief argues that social connection belongs with nutrition and exercise as a lifestyle factor deserving national guidelines for the public to follow.
If illness is often caused or worsened by isolation, then social connectedness can hold the key to a healthy recovery. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommended in a 2020 report that healthcare workers be trained to address patient isolation. Facility leaders can step up by designing open-concept community spaces that encourage patient interaction in a calming environment.
Furniture Concepts can work with you to design inviting common spaces that don't sacrifice safety. Our solid wood TOUGH STUFF! line combines durability with comfort and ease of use, making it ideal for furnishing meeting spaces. Our fully upholstered group-living seating comes in hundreds of fluid- and stain-resistant fabrics and is backed by a 10-year heavy-use warranty; you can find the perfect match for any style. Common areas that promote patient interaction will reinforce recovery, with everyone gaining strength from others who are pursuing the same goals.
The health field finally has recognized how an epidemic of loneliness has compromised our communities' health. Partner with us to create environments of wellness and connection.