Designing and making a bespoke mobile cabinet for namaste care.

Designing and making a bespoke mobile cabinet for namaste care.

This project from last summer, came about through my volunteer work with a care home for those living with dementia. The brief here was to make a bespoke trolley to assist care workers in delivering Namaste Care to their residents.

close up top down side profile of namaste trolley with side handle and open drawer

 

Specific consideration had to be made as to the overall dimensions. A comfortable working height, practical storage elements and in particular the overall width and depth to allow being stowed away when not in use, were major factors in the design.

 

top down view of storage trolley in use with open drawer displaying items stored within and basin of water on top

 

 

 

 

 

 

Namaste Care is a really important aspect of the person centred care, provided to those living with the advanced stages of dementia. One aspect of this care is through gentle sensory stimulation such as hand massage.

 

 

My client realised they could provide a better care experience for both staff and residents if all the necessary equipment was always found to hand in one place, and most crucially could be easily taken to the resident anywhere in the house.

 

 

This meant a having a mobile cabinet with the right storage spaces and features specifically for this purpose. 

front and side view of namaster trolley unfinished raw hardwood ply

As always, I endeavour to construct all my makes using reclaimed or salvaged materials but careful selection and use of materials is required for each project. For example, pallet wood or timber that could have been contaminated or treated with harmful chemicals would not be suitable in this scenario. 

Sheet materials such as 18mm plywood are ideal for cabinetry of this kind; quick construction is possible with a generally stable and flat material that's very strong when assembled. For this project I was able to reuse material in the form of some 18mm hardwood ply of a very good quality, previously used to make custom built-in wardrobes some 16+ years ago.

 

 

 

As this was plywood that I'd originally sourced myself from new, I could be confident that it was in excellent condition and safe to use in a care home setting, not having been exposed to anything potentially hazardous.

The actual cabinet construction was straightforward and once the panels were cut, it was quickly assembled using glue and biscuit joints. Storage within the cabinet was designed specific to the use case with space for a couple of hand basins, a deep drawer for hand creams, lotions and cloths, and a space for A4 size binders.

open drawer in cabinet displaying items stored within

The drawer pull is formed from leather reclaimed from a handbag!

top down view of storage trolley in use with open drawer displaying items stored within and basin of water on top

On top, a simple hardwood moulding makes the surface more usable and provides a secure place for care workers to place a hand basin of water.

A handle on the side doubles as a rail for hand towels and for manoeuvring the cabinet around. With swivel casters able to be locked in position, the cabinet is transformed into a movable trolley, that can be easily taken to the resident and then secured.  

close up  of namaste trolley with side handle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A theme I often use in my makes is to create a contrast between painted surfaces and exposed natural wood finish. With a good quality veneered ply such as this, I wanted to keep some of the natural ply on show and enhance the laminated edges by applying a round-over; this visually and physically softens hard edges to make a more ergonomic design. Where unpainted, the ply is treated with a yacht varnish. This does have the effect of darkening the plywood slightly as you can see, but the painted panels create a better contrast and further highlight the wooden elements, whilst making it a bit easier to wipe down and clean.

rear and side view of namaster trolley unfinished raw hardwood plyside view of namaste trolley showing side and rear panels painted grey

 

I'm pleased to say the care workers were able to put the trolley into immediate service and continue to use it frequently. Having a bespoke made-to-measure trolley allows the staff to take this type of namaste care anywhere in the home, have everything they need immediately to hand, and stow away in a cupboard when not in use. 

If you have a similar requirement or would like to enquire about getting some custom cabinetry made, just get in touch. Email maker at woodworkerrs.co.uk or use the contact page.

namaste trolley in use within a care home setting
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