It’s hard to believe that a floor can make you sick—but in health care settings such as hospitals and clinics, that could well be the case. Flooring is an important design element in the healthcare environment. While a pleasant environment can boost in morale for both patients and staff, an appropriate floor covering can actually support the healing process.
Hospital floors are unique environments; they are exposed to high of traffic with all sorts of contaminants, they must be slip resistant and safe for patients and medical staff who may stand on them for long periods of time. Additionally, they should be wear resistant to contribute to the professional look of the space.
A Floor for Every Purpose
Site specifications contribute to the decision of which flooring materials to choose in a healthcare setting. The appropriate flooring can aid in infection control and other environmental concerns. Hard wearing floors in treatment areas, patient rooms, operating theaters and laboratories must meet the highest standards of cleanliness to prevent contamination and infection. They must also be tough enough to handle the movement of equipment like wheelchairs, carts, gurneys and X-ray machines. Antibacterial PVC, self leveling epoxy and specialty ceramics are common in these areas.
However, these tough surfaces pose a challenge to staff. Studies have shown that staff comfort and safety are as important as cleaning and maintenance in the preventing infection and the use of anti-fatigue mats in staff work areas greatly increases comfort and productivity.
Dampening sound with soft flooring is a consideration for reception, hallways and back of house areas even though these areas may have the same traffic challenges. Antibacterial carpeting, rubber flooring tiles and vinyl composition rubberized flooring can provide comfort under foot while meeting rigorous standards for durability and site hygiene.
Shaping Clinical Outcomes and Customer Experience
"As hospital leaders continue to seek ways to improve quality and reduce errors, it is critical that they look around their own physical environment with the goal of ensuring the hospital contributes to, rather than impedes, the process of healing," said Dr. Carolyn Clancy, U.S. director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in the January/February 2008 issue of the American Journal of Medical Quality.
Flooring is an architectural element that shapes the customer experience. Acoustic characteristics of certain flooring materials can reduce stress in waiting areas. Attractive designs provide a comforting enevironment for families and visitors. In addition to directly influencing wellness outcomes, some facilities use flooring of different colors and textures to guide visitors through complex facilities.
Hospital flooring can contribute to the healing and general health of patients, staff and to the health of the institution itself. To ensure a safe healthcare environment from the ground up, work with a commercial flooring provider that is well-versed in flooring solutions for hospitals, doctor’s offices and clinics. Click below to see some examples of our healthcare work, including one of our recent projects at Raritan Bay Medical Center.
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