A hospital environment is most likely to make patients and visitors feel anxious and nervous. And so healthcare facility managers adopt the best measures to keep the aesthetics and ambience soothing and pleasant. In the effort, flooring material for a hospital always stays on the top of the priorities. This is because it plays a vital role in interior design and influences positive patient outcomes. Besides, it also impacts the quality and functionality of different rooms present in a medical environment.
However, the way to deciding the best flooring material requires a keen eye to essential qualities and detailed planning. So, let’s dig into the criteria that lead to positive results for both patients and healthcare providers.
The Major Standards For A Healthy Flooring
The material used for flooring should create a welcoming atmosphere for both patients and caregivers in a way that reduces stress and adds to a sense of relaxation. For example, flooring that imitates nature like natural stone offers warmth and comfort. It is known to elevate wellness both in terms of mental and physical health.
Safety & Hygiene
Safety and infection control is the most important aspect of flooring in a healthcare facility. As healing and safety go hand in hand, it is important that flooring is free from any harmful pathogens that may lead to infections. For this, the material should be devoid of any cracks or crevices that act as a breeding ground for germs. In addition, the material used must ensure that it protects the patient and the caregiver staff from falls, trips, and slips. The surface and texture of the flooring should provide the necessary grip even when it is wet. This not just reflects the professionalism of the hospital but also ensures hygiene which is the ultimate priority.
The durability of hospital flooring material plays an important role because if it starts deteriorating over time it will cause surface abrasions or bubbling which can lead to trips and falls while compromising the cleanliness factor. Such floorings that are used 24/7 directly affect staff productivity and their ability to care for the patients.
Hospitals work 24/7, so it is essential for them to have flooring that offers a quick turnaround. The turnaround can be achieved when the flooring is low on maintenance and high-performing. In other words, the material used should require minimal cleaning agents, maintenance methods and repairs. Such floors easily reduce the time and labour costs that go into maintaining them. Ultimately, easy-to-maintain flooring positively impacts patient volume.
Natural Stones That Are Ideal For Hospitals
A wide variety of colours, patterns, textures make natural stone a good choice for healthcare facilities. A broad variety that offers low maintenance, high performance and ROI makes a natural stone even better option. They make the ambience feel homely and cosy, which is one of the focal points for healthcare providers. Originating from nature, they arouse a sense of calmness and spread positive vibes. Each stone including marble, granite, quartz (exotic variety) has unique qualities to offer. Depending on their features each one can be used for different rooms in a hospital.
Marble - Marble is a premium natural stone which reflects a pleasant and comfortable feel. White, beige, pink or blue colour marble is known to lend relaxation to patients. However, as marble is quite expensive and porous in nature, it is good for installation in low-traffic areas like balconies and bathrooms in hospitals. But even here it is important to choose honed or tumbled finishes that add traction and make it slip-resistant. A proper sealant covering the surface enhances durability, makes it resistant to scratches and cracks (promoting infection control) and requires just soap and water for daily cleaning.
Granite - Granite is on the tougher side of the natural stone variety, apart from being beautiful in looks and appearance. Granite is sturdy, compression-resistant, low on porosity, resistant to temperature damage and immune to breakage, stains or scratches. Moreover, it is more durable and easy to maintain. Owing to these features, it is best for high-traffic areas in healthcare facilities. It can be used in kitchen flooring, entryways and reception areas which receive high traffic 24/7. It prevents trips and slips, offers hygiene and stays durable for decades. A sealant applied on granite further enhances its performance in every aspect. Check out some of the granite floorings.
Limestone - Limestone is another great option for external as well as internal flooring in hospitals. The composition of the natural stone makes it very strong, durable and comfortable to walk on due to a soft texture. With beautiful textures and colours, limestone can enhance the aesthetics of any space. Its prominent features include resistance to bacteria, freezing and thawing, low porosity and low water absorption. Its maintenance requires just cleaning with soapy water on a daily basis.
Considering all the features, limestone is an apt choice for installation in patios, reception area, corridors and any other space in healthcare facility which receives high traffic. Nevertheless, to ensure limestone offers all these benefits for the long term, it will require sealing on the surface. And opting for the honed surface will provide better resistance to slips and falls.
Quartz - Quartz is an engineered stone which resembles natural stone in looks but offers features that are more powerful. The material is popularly used in hospitals in reception areas, guest bathrooms and lobbies.
Thanks to the features, quartz is a highly non-porous material and is not susceptible to cracks or scratches which can act as breeding space for germs. It is also non-slippery in nature which provides protection and safety from accidents. Owing to the features, it is ideal even for floorings in operating theatres, patient rooms and laboratories where safety, hygiene, and durability is a must. The hard surface of quartz is able to manage the constant movement of equipment in hospitals which include wheelchairs, stretchers, X-ray machines, carts, etc.
One of the best features of quartz is that it does not require sealing for any kind of protection. And hence it reduces the cost of maintenance and increases ROI.
Other options like sandstone or slate can also perform well in a hospital environment. However, each natural stone comes with certain downsides which can easily be evaded by taking preventive measures such as applying sealants and ensuring daily maintenance. That being said, choosing a natural stone for healthcare floorings requires expert advice which can help you get the best outcomes for your patients, staff, and visitors.