In the EU, approximately 4.1 million patients acquire a Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) each year and at least 37,000 patients die as a result. Therefore, when it comes to floor selection in hospitals and medical establishments, maintaining the highest hygiene standards must take precedence when it comes to specification.
Examination rooms, MRI suites, operating rooms, inpatient rooms, nurses’ stations, administrative offices, restaurants and retail stores; each space in a healthcare facility has unique floor, ceiling and wall finish requirements based on the room’s purpose, occupants and equipment. In terms of flooring, a smooth, seamless, slip-resistant finish not only minimises the risk of trips and falls - the second most common cause of injuries in work spaces - it creates easy-to-clean surfaces where germs could fester. Additionally, seamless flooring materials and wall finishes have become an increasingly common specification in helping reduce the risk of transmission of infection in hospitals and medical environments. To achieve this standard of building and the high quality, safe and efficient healthcare within, the quality and fitness-for-purpose of the healthcare estate is vital. The Department of Health’s HBN: 00-10 details the key requirements of every floor, wall and coating systems and divides them into three main performance themes – infection control, life cycle maintenance and fire performance. Sika has a range of high performance resin floor systems, including Sika Comfortfloor, which are suitable for the most demanding healthcare environments. The company’s Sikagard range of seamless hygienic coatings for walls and ceilings can be specified to mirror design life requirements, construction joints, floor to wall connections, surface design and installation details to meet and exceed HBN 00-10 guidelines.
Patient comfort is paramount in hospitals. Their increased satisfaction aids rehabilitation, hence the need for flooring that reduces noise – a by-product of a busy, public environment. Highly-durable flooring is also key to creating comfortable, ‘feel good’ spaces. Surfaces with excellent resistance to heavy equipment and footfall will remain looking smarter for longer and help create a positive, welcoming atmosphere and improve the healthcare ‘experience’ for staff, visitors and patients.
Regular maintenance will help uphold a floor’s aesthetic properties as well as most importantly, help facilitate a healthy interior finish. The more durable the wear layer, the less chemicals and labour will be required for routine maintenance and surface renovations. In addition, flooring with greater resistance to ultraviolet (UV) radiation has greater colour stability and is likely to look better for longer than systems with low UV resistance that are more susceptible to fading.
An important health consideration for floor finishes in hospitals and other healthcare facilities is the volume of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that materials emit into the interior environment. Products that meet or exceed standards for low VOC emissions contribute to healthier indoor air quality and reduced impact on patients, staff and the environment. When evaluating surfaces, it’s important to choose products that have been certified by a third-party to internationally-recognised, environmental sustainability standards such as LEED and BREEAM as well as to ISO 14001, an Environmental Care Management system, and OHSAS 18000, a labour-safety system.
The importance of installing sustainable, well-designed, easy-to-clean, durable flooring in our health establishments should not be underestimated. It does so much to enhance patient wellbeing when they are at their most vulnerable. It’s why its specification in critical medical arenas should be in consultation with experts such as Sikafloor. The company’s high-performance range is suitable for a host of application requirements and maintaining the highest-possible standards of hygiene in a healthcare environment, and as with all products within the Sikafloor® range, each carries the Sika performance guarantee to ensure a successful installation each and every time.
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