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HEALTH & SAFETY A Flooring Evolution


The increased emphasis on cleaning during the pandemic could spell disaster for resilient floorcoverings. Here, Rohit Sharma Resilient Sales Manager at Bona discusses how renovation rather than replacement can improve hygiene and safety in care settings.


Flooring must be appropriate for the care home environment and deliver better outcomes for residents. According to the Resilient Floor Solution Global Research Report 2021, key flooring trends indicate greater use of resilient flooring, an overall trend for more environmentally- friendly products,


improved product quality and innovation, and


enhanced design. Resilient flooring can be defined as


flooring that is firm, but also flexible and includes PVC/vinyl, linoleum, and rubber floorcoverings. It is considered an extremely durable type of flooring that suits both residential and commercial spaces and is ideal for high-traffic areas such as in care homes.


The quality, hygiene, and safety of surfaces in a care space are clearly top priority. Therefore, when the condition of resilient flooring begins to deteriorate, it can increase health and safety risks. Scratches, dents, chips and gaps not only affect the aesthetics but more importantly create concerns around hygiene and safety.


Resilient floors in a care home environment come with different types of challenges. Daily wear is inevitable, and damage is accelerated in high usage areas of a care home because of increased footfall from residents, staff, and visitors, the movement of equipment such as wheelchairs and walking aids, and also the subsequent level of cleaning. Safety is a further factor to consider, and again as flooring ages, it can become slippery and unsafe.


Inevitably the pandemic has increased emphasis on hygiene and safety, and care homes across the country have stepped up cleanliness and infection control. This has resulted in a surge in cleaning and the repeated use of aggressive chemicals, which in turn leads to fading and general wear and tear; a catch 22 that affects the lifespan of flooring. It is this type of damage that can catalyst the need for early replacement.


When care homes embark on a resilient flooring project, replacement is oſten the first option that presents itself, but it is important to establish whether a brand-new installation is really the best route, particularly as the right flooring can massively impact both staff and residents.


Replacing resilient flooring is a daunting task for care homes and can be problematic. Not least because of the associated


- 40 -


expense of purchasing new materials, but also because of the time-intensive process of fitting a new surface which creates upheaval and disturbance for residents and staff when areas need to be out of use for long periods of time.


Consider whether your care home needs to tear out the entire floor and replace with brand new. Even if the surface looks beyond repair, it probably isn’t – there is another way to extend the life of the floor; renovation.


“Renovating to create a


monolithic or ‘flat’ surface eliminates areas such as


seams and creases where bacteria like to grow.”


Renovation of resilient floors provides care homes with a better solution to overcome any issues and retain the original appearance of their flooring for longer. By transforming tired flooring, it offers the same results as a new installation and looks brand new but requires less downtime and less expense.


In light of the pandemic, the care sector has been encouraged to find better ways to work, not only in terms of improving service user outcomes but also from a financial and operational standpoint. More than ever, care home providers are open to new, alternative ways of working; choices that are cost-effective, sustainable, and minimise the risk of germ and bacteria growth. With budgets also more challenged than ever, any decisions around flooring must be focused on long- term solutions, avoiding the pitfalls of opting for a short-term fix, and renovation also supports many key areas.


BETTER HYGIENE AND SAFETY


As care homes have begun to reopen to more people, hygienic practices that prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses are more important than ever. Care home settings demand the highest levels of safety and hygiene, and flooring must be anti- static, sterile and anti-slip. With the need to disinfect more frequently since the pandemic, significant time and effort is required to keep floors clean. While some surfaces may look clean and shiny, and smell amazing, it doesn’t necessary mean that they are clear of bacteria which thrives in seams, grooves, creases, and fabric.


www.tomorrowscare.co.uk


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