Lisa Robbins, Allied Member ASID, Ritz Associates:
I thought Lisa Cini’s blog, “Solid surface flooring versus carpet in skilled nursing,” was great. Some of my favorite discussions with designers and end users are about finishes. Much like lighting, I believe flooring can make or break a space. It's one of the first things noticeable when walking into a facility. What's interesting about this topic is that everyone can have an opinion about it and I can't imagine any one opinion being right or wrong. Although it is absolutely a highly debatable subject!
I would lead by commenting that I challenge the 'homey' feel. I'm not sure I want my Acute Care Hospital to feel like home unless it is a nurse's residence. Carpeting could give me that warm sense of not being in an institutional space in that instance, except that I've seen some great vinyl flooring which looks like wood and I love wood floors at home ... so, I'm curious, which one would you choose?
Thank you for the response, Lisa. For me there are many ways to achieve a ‘homey’ feel and I would like to counter that Acute Care has done a better job of this than the Long-Term Care industry. I have been an in-house designer in both environments. We added carpet in the hospital long before skilled nursing even considered it and several factors led us to using carpet in Acute Care.
First, patients were starting to drive where they stayed vs. the doctor or insurance company. This started with labor and delivery units, then moved to heart and then to the ER. From a clinical standpoint, there was a reduction in noise from the traffic outside of a patient’s room and therefore sleep and agitation were less, which in turn helped in the healing process. That being said, we did have to make modifications to mobile technology to accommodate the loads (i.e., portable x-ray machines) and understand fiber technology, backing systems, and cleaning schedules.
Another positive was that from a life-cycle costing standpoint the carpeting was much less costly to maintain even with replacement factored in. Outpatient surgery centers have also bought this “homey” feel to the extent that even they are customizing catering, having fireplaces at the check in and fluffy robes. On a personal note, I have had carpet, hardwood, tile and linoleum in my living spaces and I like them all. I see the benefits to most of them except tile. However, I do notice in Long-Term Care that if carpet is on the correct maintenance schedule and toileting is taken care of then my preference is for carpet.