Healthcare Flooring Solutions
The Healthcare industry is one of varying facilities and differing requirements. Whether for hospitals, GP Surgeries, medical centres or specialist facilities, two factors remain central to the flooring requirements - hygiene and safety.
Flooring for healthcare plays an important role in the health, wellbeing and patient experience of those utilising the space, as well as providing a safe and comfortable working environment for everyone operating within the healthcare sector.
Healthcare facilities require a certain level of performance regardless of the type of environment they are. Specifically, flooring solutions for healthcare locations need to be highly durable, easy to maintain, hygienic and they must support patient mobility - whether that be ambulatory or roller related.
Irrespective of the type of healthcare environment, a certain amount of movement will take place for patients, staff and residents. This mobility may be via walking or through aids such as wheelchairs or frames, so the flooring selected for use in healthcare environments must support the safe and fluid movement of people. Flooring for Healthcare should not just consider the risk of slips and falls, although this remains an important consideration when selecting an appropriate flooring solution, consideration also must be made for comfort & security, ease of movement, and noise control.
Healthcare Flooring Solutions: Entrance Matting
The entrance is the first impression of the healthcare environment for staff, visitors and patients, so whether you are a hospital, GP's surgery, residential community or any other healthcare facility, ensuring a clean and safe entrance is important to prove a welcoming environment. Entrance matting serves a valuable purpose for reducing the amount of external contamination entering the building so ensuring a suitable entrance mat is installed will help with the overall cleanliness and hygiene of the location.
Hardwearing entrance matting is well suited to all healthcare environments, Desso’s ‘protect’ matting is a wool and nylon cut pile carpet tile which can cover large areas if desired. The ‘protect’ matting also features a scraper fibre distributed through the tile to increase the level of effectiveness.
Another option could be Bermatex’s 7700 Grimebuster - which does what it says on the tin! This matting is a fibre bonded carpet sheet with deep diagonal ribs offering durability and hard wearing protection against high foot traffic, dirt and wear.
Other options for effective entrance matting in healthcare facilities include Luxury Vinyl Tile. The resilience of LVT makes it a popular choice for many flooring solutions, it is incredibly durable, water resistant and with its photographic layer there are practically endless design possibilities. Combining traditional carpeted matting with LVT is a great way to ensure a clean environment in and beyond the entrance.
Healthcare Flooring Solutions: Corridors and treatment rooms
Navigation in larger healthcare facilities can be quite a challenge, particularly for visitors and patients. Wayfinding solutions created through intelligent use of flooring is one way to combat this. Through the use of colour coding, inlaid designs such as arrows location identifiers and combining different floor types to designate separate areas can all aid with navigation and wayfinding. Demarcation through colour blocking is a popular way to create attractive flooring which also aids wayfinding.
Sheet vinyl flooring is commonly used in healthcare environments due to its multitude of properties which are suited to locations which require hard wearing, easy to clean and attractive flooring. The benefits of sheet vinyl for ease of movement include the fact that it can cover large areas without requiring joins which mean there are fewer obstacles which can prevent a smooth and safe surface. With varying levels of thickness and added properties such as noise reduction, sheet vinyl can create the ideal surface for hospital beds, wheelchairs, support frames and walking without trip hazards or uneven surfaces.
Corridors and treatment rooms must include anti slip surfaces and there is a multitude of safety flooring options available through Hamilton flooring. Altros high risk safety flooring ranges are ideal for treatment rooms and corridors for their anti-slip properties as well as noise reduction and comfort increasing characteristics. Find out more in our recent article ‘Safety Flooring Solutions: Altro’
Healthcare Flooring Solutions: Ease of maintenance
Continual cleaning procedures take place in all healthcare facilities and the floor coverings chosen in these locations need to withstand regular cleaning and maintenance whilst also being easy to keep clean and maintain throughout the lifecourse of the product. All flooring solutions suggested by Hamilton flooring require minimal maintenance and are resistant to staining and excessive dirt collection.
Vinyl flooring in its various forms can handle the chemical cleaning products required for sterile environments and is moisture resistant so spills and the cleaning process will not allow moisture to seep into the flooring causing long term damage. LVT in particular can be recoated with a new wear layer to increase its longevity which is practical and cost effective so is ideal for areas of heavy foot traffic like waiting areas and offices. Furthermore due to its tile or plank system, areas can be replaced without having to redo the entire floor should significant scratches or dents occur.
Healthcare Flooring solutions: Hygiene and Sterile Environments
Forbos Marmoleum is a great solution for general healthcare flooring as it is naturally bacteriostatic and is shown to inhibit the growth and spread of infections such as MRSA, Acinetobacter baumannii, C Difficile, and Norovirus. This property positively contributes to the hygienic environment of any healthcare facility. In particular, topshield2 is a popular choice throughout hospitals and healthcare environments because it has soiling reduction characteristics, is resistant to staining commonly found near disinfectant stations and it is approved by Allergy UK as a hypoallergenic surface which does not harbour dust mites. Other flooring solutions also provide extensive levels of antimicrobial and antifungal properties suited to healthcare flooring, read more in our article‘Antimicrobial, Antibacterial, and Bacteria Resistant Flooring’.
In many healthcare facilities, more specialised flooring is required. For example, certain spaces may require electro static discharge (ESD) protection to prevent any electrostatic discharges which can cause problematic and even dangerous equipment malfunctions and failures.
Forbo, for example, has a range of products specifically designed for use in hospital areas like operating theatres, intensive care units and diagnostic and imaging suites which meet the very highest standards of safety and hygiene as would be expected for any healthcare flooring. Specifically, their Colorex range has conductive properties which prevent an accumulation of static electricity whilst also being anti-slip and bacteria and mould inhibiting.
Healthcare Flooring Solutions: Aesthetic Impact
The benefits of safe and hygienic flooring are obvious when it comes to healthcare flooring solutions, but an oftentimes overlooked consideration is the aesthetic impact of healthcare flooring and the contribution of design to well being, healing and comfort.
The physical environment of a healthcare facility like a hospital, care home, GP's surgery plays an important role in the positive experience of the patient, visitor or resident and the well being of staff members. Aesthetics are an aspect of research which has been making a great impact in the process of evidence led design in healthcare locations.
One such example of this is the increased prevalence of LVT in healthcare environments, not just for its durability, ease of maintenance and hygienic characteristics but also because of the wealth of design options available. LVT has a huge array of design options available due to its photographic layer which can include vibrant colours, natural earthy tones, realistic wood effect and convincing representations of stone and ceramic. Bringing more of a homely/hospitality feel to a healthcare environment is shown to reduce stress levels and anxiety associated with hospitals.
Healthcare Flooring Solutions and Hamilton Flooring
Hamilton Flooring have provided consultation and installation services to the healthcare sector throughout its almost 30 years in the industry. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, and relationships with some of the best names in the supply and manufacture of quality flooring, our team of professionals is here to help with your healthcare flooring solutions. We understand that no two healthcare facilities are the same and that a careful and detailed approach to selecting the most appropriate flooring for the space is required.
For a consultation or to talk through your healthcare flooring requirements, contact one of our friendly team of experts to find out how Hamilton Flooring can help you get the most out of your flooring.
Unless otherwise stated, Images are used for illustrative purposes and do not represent work untaken by Hamilton flooring - examples of work completed can be found in our Gallery