Ask any nurse or healthcare employee if they wear their work shoes into their homes. They will almost always answer with a resounding NO! Hospital floors can contain germs regardless of how much they are cleaned and sanitized. Your shoes are one mode of transmission to spread these germs to other flooring surfaces.
Microbes, Germs and Bacteria
Information exists supporting the above claim studies and testing show that germs can survive routine cleaning. Persistent contaminants such as multi-drug resistant bacteria live on floors. One study conducted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers found that 16% of patient room floors showed evidence of specific multi-drug resistant bacteria. With readily available information proving hospital floors are unclean surfaces, how can hospital flooring promote patient well-being?
One solution is the minimization of flooring transitions that have seams where bacteria and germs can hide and grow. Sheet vinyl floors should be physically bonded (heat welded) thereby creating one continuous material. Infectious agents will be unable to find a place to thrive. Gaps and seems should also be minimized along the cove base and around the edges of the floors. This will help keep patients safer and provide a healthier environment for all visitors and staff. Vinyl tile has gaps between the tiles, however with the proper acrylic cross link finish on top of the tiles, the tile gaps will be sealed with floor finish.
Another way modern hospital flooring keeps patients safe is by the use of chemical applications that uses extreme pH levels to eliminate microbial activity. Simix is one product that provides this type of defense. Cleaners with a neutral pH create a hospitable environment for germ propagation. The first step to a reduced microbial environment is to start with a flooring surface that does not support germ growth. Simple cleaning will then maintain the surface and prevent microbes from surviving. The only drawback to a high pH cleaner is the removal of typical floor finishes.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Shiny gleaming floors as far as the eye can see, hallway after hallway of spotless highly buffed surfaces could be the waiting culprit in patient injury. Add water to this super smooth surface and you have a recipe for disaster. Trips, slips and falls occur in hospitals on a regular basis, often resulting in patient injury. Flooring with a non-slip surface promotes patient safety by eliminating that super slick surface. Gritty or textured surfaces can also mitigate this risk and reduce the possibility of falls. No-skid waxes and surfaces coated with grit create non-slip surfaces in otherwise slippery areas such as the bathroom and shower areas. Another potential benefit of texturized flooring is the lowered insurance premiums and decrease of potential lawsuits as the risk of slip and fall injuries.
The average large hospital in the United States has 644,000 square feet of floors. It is critical this huge area of flooring be kept clean and free of all hazards. A clean dry floor reduces the risk of hospital acquired infections and cuts, as well as the number of injuries from falls.
To learn more about the best types of flooring for a healthcare environment, contact the flooring professionals at Commercial Flooring & Interior Concepts, Inc. Take the guess work out of what flooring surface will meet your healthcare needs while enjoying the most cost effective choice and staying within your budget. Our experienced staff will ask all the right questions to arrive at all the right answers.
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