By Keith Gray, Director of Applied Research
As one of the most abundant finishes in the built environment, flooring has great potential to improve residents’ safety and quality of life and positively support caregivers.
I’m happy to report that flooring also exemplifies many of the SAGE Design Principles that are used to evaluate senior living and residential care facilities for its Post-occupancy Evaluation (POE) Program. Specifically, it supports the environment as a therapeutic resource for healing and improved functioning of residents; and helps to create an environment that promotes safety, efficiency, and emotional support for staff.
So, this year, as part of the 2020 POE conducted at Menno Haven Rehabilitation Center in Chambersburg, Penn., our multidisciplinary team asked “guests” (as Menno Haven prefers to call them) and staff specific flooring-related questions.
I wasn’t surprised to hear that majority of the guests who participated preferred the “warmth” of carpet over hard surface flooring – particularly in guest bedroom rooms. They also felt safe walking on the different types of floors at the facility, although one did mention some problems with transitions.
The Environmental Services staff reported to us that cleaning biological spills on carpet is not inconvenient or objectionable. They have standard operating procedures in place for cleaning contaminated spills on both hard and soft surface flooring and have been trained to ensure proper protocols are followed. The carpet in the facility looked well maintained to me.
Other staff members were also positive about the flooring in Menno Haven. Here are one person’s written answers to the team’s questions.
Q to Staff: How does the flooring in Menno Haven help or hinder resident mobility? Are there any places where there is a transition of one type of floor to another that might cause residents or staff to trip?
A single guest (since we’ve opened) “wished” we had hard surface flooring. Everyone else is quite content with carpet. It doesn’t seem to hinder mobility.
The only place we’ve experienced flooring transition concerns is moving from LVT to actual tile – which is an elevation concern. We put in a transition strip, which solved the issue.
Q to Staff: Could any of the flooring patterns and colors create visual confusion for residents? Have you observed this?
Patterns have not caused visual confusion for guests.
Q to Staff: Does the flooring in Menno Haven feel comfortable to staff underfoot? How often do staff members experience foot pain during or after working their shifts?
No team member has expressed discomfort due to flooring. Our team walks a lot of distance during each of their 12-hour shifts, but I’ve heard no complaints.
Q to Staff: Do you feel that the flooring selection helps create a less institutional environment for residents?
Of course! I believe our guest suites would feel quite stark without carpet. It adds warmth as well as helps with sound.
Menno Haven is the first rehabilitation facility in the world (and perhaps first healthcare facility) to achieve WELL Building Certification, which is quite an accomplishment. The comfort of carpet underfoot and it’s ability to prevent the spread of infections and promote good indoor air quality positively contribute to two categories (Air, Comfort) to achieve the WELL distinction.
And I should also mention that while J+J Flooring products were used in this project, it was pure coincidence and was not a factor in the selection of Menno Haven as the site of the 2020 POE.Please join us on Tuesday, June 2 at 4 p.m. EST as members of the SAGE 2020 POE team present more detailed findings at the EFA Virtual Conference.