In general terms, interior design involves manipulating the look of a room to maximize its potential — with the right paint, furnishings, accessories, and arrangement, any bland box can be transformed into a lively living space. When it comes to its applications in healthcare, however, visual appeal is just one of many vital considerations. “People hear ‘interior design,’ and they immediately think HGTV,” says Jacki Zumsteg. “But it’s so much more than just selecting something that’s pretty.”
Zumsteg is the director of MTMC Interior Design, which develops innovative solutions for medical, long-term care, and senior living clients. The firm, based in St. Louis, was already a leader in the field for 40-plus years before joining the MTMC family in 2019. Now, the multi-talented team is better-positioned than ever to offer its services to industries with evolving and often unforeseen needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout its history, MTMCID has done business in all 50 states, and has headed international projects, as well. But whether the assignment is developing a soup-to-nuts design plan for a metropolitan high-rise hospital or helping a small-town physician build a better waiting room, these experts take a highly personalized approach. The firm works closely with customers every step of the way, from budget development and scheduling through to procurement and installation.
MTMCID’s proprietary process is grounded in “evidence-based design,” a school of thought in which every aesthetic choice is backed by empirical data. “There’s a true science behind selecting products, colors, patterns, and more that impact our mood and behavior,” explains Zumsteg. A thoughtful curation of artwork and signage, for example, can have morale-boosting effects on patients in a cancer center; specific hues and upholsteries can unconsciously encourage energy and mobility in a physical therapy area.
Though COVID-19 has thrown both the daily operations and long-term goals of care providers for a serious loop, MTMCID is uniquely qualified to take on the ever-changing challenges facing these industries. A versatile and highly adaptable skill set, coupled with top-rated product support, forms a potent one-two punch against the overwhelming uncertainty of our current situation. “It’s all about creativity and balance — doing everything we can to reduce concerns around both safety and liability,” says Zumsteg.
Here, Zumsteg expands on just a few of the many topics clients have been asking about the most during the pandemic, and the services MTMCID offers to provide lasting peace of mind.
Air Filtration. “While it doesn’t necessarily sound like it would be design-related, air filtration solutions are one of our top specialties,” says Zumsteg. MTMCID is the American healthcare industry’s exclusive provider of Purafil brand Purashield cabinets, which have been proven to destroy 99.98% of harmful airborne viruses, bacteria, and mold. This multi-tier product line features compact options for smaller offices and facilities, all the way up to powerful filtration systems that can handle entire laboratories and buildings.
UV Light Cleaning. There are a multitude of products on the market that emit germicidal ultraviolet light, providing effective and efficient chemical-free disinfection in professional settings. Zumsteg has found these solutions fit effortlessly into many different environments, from mobile UV rigs that keep hospital computer equipment germ-free to standalone office kiosks that clean high-use instruments, cellphones, or tablets.
Furniture and Upholstery. MTMCID’s design expertise makes them an ideal resource for clients seeking guidance on meeting, and ideally exceeding, social distancing guidelines inside their facilities. But while arranging furniture to maximize safety is imperative, Zumsteg says the style of the furniture itself should also be top of mind. “You need to be able to easily wipe things down, so pieces that can stand up to rigorous regular cleaning are key,” she says. She recommends furniture with minimal edges and creases that can collect bacteria. Upholstery is a major consideration, as well. MTMCID works with manufacturers like CF Stinson and Crypton, which create textiles with a range of pandemic-relevant features, such as anti-microbial protection, fluid barriers, and bleach resistance.
Flexible Protective Measures. Many care providers don’t have the time or money to make drastic physical renovations to meet pandemic protocols right now, but still need strategies to protect staff and patients alike. What can be done? “We’re finding that many people need solutions that may not necessarily be long-term,” says Zumsteg. MTMCID stocks a wide variety of clear acrylic countertop guards, shields, dividers, and tri-fold screens in various styles, shapes, and sizes. Portable, storable, and easy to disinfect, these pieces are a simple and cost-effective way to up safety and ease anxiety, no construction required.