Noise reduction, caregiver fatigue, contamination and IAQ are changing the way we look at flooring.
New selection criteria focused on human-centered values underscore the ROI benefits of rubber flooring in healthcare settings.
While aesthetics and budget will always be important, healthcare professionals are paying increasing attention to floorcovering’s impact on operations, the clinical environment and safety of caregivers and patients.
An article in Construction Specifier by nora experts Sandra Soraci and Tasha Hughes outlines four specific issues that are emerging:
- Noise reduction. Rubber flooring helps control unwanted noise, which has a negative impact on healing by disrupting patients’ sleep and increasing the need for medication.
- Caregiver fatigue. Rubber flooring provides comfort underfoot for caregivers, who spend many hours per shift on their feet. Studies have shown that fatigue negatively impacts caregiver performance, reducing productivity and increasing absenteeism.
- Health-Acquired Infections (HAIs) and maintenance needs. Rubber flooring’s dense, nonporous surface helps repel bacteria, making it naturally resistant to bacteria, fungi and micro-organisms. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently conducted a survey that found one in 25 hospital patients had at least one HAI. Another CDC study estimated cost of HAIs at $35-45 billion annually.
- Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Premium rubber flooring does not contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC), plasticizers (phthalate) or halogens (e.g., chlorine) that would generate hydrochloric acid, dioxins or furans and impact IAQ. In addition, it eliminates harsh cleaning chemicals, coatings, waxes and strippers that can leave strong, lingering fumes.
By delivering so many new ancillary benefits, rubber flooring offers a solid, long-term return on investment (ROI) that goes beyond its immediate impact on budget and aesthetic appeal. For more on how premium rubber flooring fosters human-centered values in a healthcare environment, see the full article.