Carpet makes a comeback

Carpet is beginning to make a comeback as hospitals enhance the patient environment

Carpet is making a comeback in health centres and hospitals

Carpet is beginning to make a comeback in hospital environments after being overlooked for years amid concerns about hygiene and cleanliness.

Floor covering manufacturers are reporting an increase in interest in carpet ranges for healthcare buildings, with the latest innovations not only offering improvements in hygiene, but also helping to reduce noise and increase safety and comfort for patients, visitors and staff.

Karen Burman, product manager for Gradus floor coverings, told BBH: “Long-term maintenance costs and the ability to retain a pristine appearance over time are key considerations when selecting flooring products. Carpets are a particularly strong choice for healthcare environments as they have been developed to make the cleaning of spillages and soiling easier, helping to ensure the carpet retains a fresh look throughout its lifecycle.

Carpets are a particularly strong choice for healthcare environments as they have been developed to make the cleaning of spillages and soiling easier, helping to ensure the carpet retains a fresh look throughout its lifecycle

“Carpets will also trap any allergens in the fibres until correct vacuuming is possible, thereby stopping germs and bacteria spreading or becoming airborne. This is not the case with vinyl flooring which, as a result, can be more expensive and time intensive to maintain to the same standard.”

Gradus’s Genus carpet, for example, is made using marquesa fibre, which is non-absorbent and resistant to staining and fading. Common healthcare spillages such as blood and bodily fluids can therefore be quickly and easily.

“In addition to being easy to clean and maintain, carpets offer a variety of additional benefits for healthcare environments,” said Burman. “Warmer and less clinical in appearance than other types of floor covering, carpets can create a pleasant, welcoming and comfortable environment that will help to put patients at ease.

“The inherent slip resistance of carpet is also advantageous in any public area, particularly where a proportion of building users are likely to be unsteady on their feet.

“In the event that an accident occurs and a patient or staff member falls over they are less likely to be hurt if the floor is carpeted. In addition, the soft, cushioned surface can help to ease the stress on joints and leg fatigue for staff who are often stood for lengthy periods. This can, in turn, help to improve performance, with research showing that productivity can vary by as much as 25%.”

Carpet also helps to absorb noise, improving the acoustics of a building dramatically; and it can be used to aid wayfinding in complicated larger buildings.

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