A unique solution to practical problems in mental health care provision.
Tough Furniture Ltd has specialised exclusively for over twenty years in designing and making furniture for those areas of care where challenging behaviour of various kinds makes conventional furniture unfit for purpose, poor value through lack of durability and potentially unsafe. Mental health care is an important sector where the company has acquired a great deal of expertise and experience responding to the evolving needs of both providers and service users. Increasingly the requirement for furniture in this area is not just durability but also reducing the risk of self-harm and enhancing the aesthetic of the therapeutic environment.
Tough Furniture pioneered the development of cabinets specifically to protect televisions, computers and other vulnerable items from challenging behaviours, using lockable screens of polycarbonate, an immensely strong plastic material. Search ‘Tough Furniture’ on Youtube to see a cabinet being tested with a sledgehammer. This development made possible the use of screens in more areas to help improve therapeutic options; dramatic cost savings in replacing expensive damages, and much improved safety considerations. As with so many of our innovations it was the customers who then took the idea further, requesting units for protected display of notices or artwork to brighten up the living/working space, and even for the protection of fishtanks!
Televisions evolved and became flatscreens mounted on the wall, so protection cabinet design had to follow them up there. Then two other important factors came into play for the next design developments: rectangular boxes on the wall becoming deemed a potential ligature risk, and the increasing emphasis being given to visual appeal. To help address these issues we collaborated with industry partners to create moulded components specifically for the cabinet. So while delivering the necessary anti-ligature sloping shape it would also have easy-clean flowing lines, generously-rounded corners and a low profile to sit easily and unobtrusively in a living environment.
Launched in 2014 (at the Design in Mental Health Network Conference Exhibition) the ALTV has been very well received, with hundreds sold to a diverse range of mental health and learning disability care providers and enquiries coming in from overseas too.
“We have purchased a number of the excellent Anti-ligature TV cabinets from Tough Furniture over the last year and are very pleased with them. The units are perfect for our more challenging environments. They are tough enough to protect the TV from damage and safe as they eliminate any climbing that we would experience with flat tops.”
Paul Hailes, Facilities Manager, The Ryde House Group
While feedback indicates that the look of the ALTV is definitely part of its success, its fitness for purpose has also been trialled and deployed in some of the most demanding of high-security accommodation.