Prescription for Healthcare Facility flooring: Best Practices
Floors play a critical, yet often overlooked, role in the daily activity of today’s busy healthcare organizations. To help ensure your flooring decisions support the mission of patient care, consider the following best practices:
Installing flooring materials that are easy to disinfect and that do not promote the growth of mold, bacteria and other harmful organisms is a top patient safety priority in any healthcare facility. Reducing moisture intrusion can help minimize this risk, while also decreasing the chance of floor buckling, potentially leading to slips, falls and injuries to staff, patients or visitors.
Patient comfort is a critical consideration in a hospital setting. Avoiding epoxies and other materials containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and/or requiring shot blasting that generates noise and particulates, can make floor installation far less intrusive to patients and staff. It can also decrease the potential health hazards.
Hospital floors must be able to stand up to years of continuous traffic, including heavy loads, such as gurneys carrying patients and equipment. flooring materials should be selected that have been tested to stand up to heavy traffic and rolling loads, and can withstand frequent cleaning with chemical agents.
Selecting flooring materials that are easily cleaned helps promote infection control. Since damage is bound to occur eventually, consider using materials that minimize the risk posed by VOCs and debris when replacing a section of flooring.
Healthcare organizations are increasingly focused on the impact of their decisions on the environment, both inside and outside their facilities. Choosing flooring materials that support indoor air quality is an important consideration.
Aesthetically pleasing environments are believed to reduce stress for patients, families and staff members alike. Selecting flooring materials that maintain their attractive appearance over the long term can help improve patient satisfaction.
When considering flooring materials, make sure to look beyond initial costs and evaluate the total cost of ownership over the life of the floor. Because premature replacement of failed flooring could mean a significant unplanned expense, make sure to install materials that help extend the useful life of the floor, while minimizing ongoing maintenance.
Making thoughtful decisions about all the components of a floor can deliver significant benefits for the healthcare organization, as well as for the patients and community it serves.