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5 Things to consider when specifying carpet

Carpets bring many therapeutic benefits to a care environment, whether that be a residential care or nursing home or a mental health facility.

However, not all carpets are the same and yes there are some on the market which may not perform well in such demanding environments so here are my top 5 things to consider when selecting and specifying a commercial carpet for a non-clinical healthcare environment.

Antimicrobial

Select a carpet that has a permanent antimicrobial yarn coating; one that achieves at least a 4 log reduction of 99.99% in harmful microorganisms and is effective against the likes of MRSA and C-Diff.

An antimicrobial coating will be your first line of defence against cross-contamination should a body fluid spill, including such bacteria, occurs on the floor.

The antimicrobial coating will act a little like a sword, puncturing the cell membrane and rendering it inactive.

Such antimicrobial coatings get to work straight away and there aren’t many on the market which can achieve a 4 log reduction within 30 minutes so make sure to find one that does.

Impervious membrane

Ensure that the carpet is impervious. This means that it has an integral layer which stops any liquid spills seeping through the carpet and reaching the subfloor underneath.

The impervious membrane will ensure the liquid stays on the surface of the carpet, without causing a slip hazard, until it can be cleaned away.

If carpets do not include an impervious membrane then any liquid spills can seep through to the floor underneath and this is one of the biggest causes of odour and cross-contamination issues with flooring.

 

Acoustics

Healthcare environments, whether that’s a care home or mental health facility can be busy places both day and night. Such residential facilities may accommodate residents with cognitive impairments like dementia, where an individual can find it difficult to filter out the background and unwanted sounds, causing stress and confusion.

The use of carpets within bedrooms, corridors and communal areas can play an important part in noise reduction. Carpet can absorbs sound impact and reduces sound reverberation as well as any specialist acoustical aids.

British Standards state that a floor covering should have a weighted reduction of not less than 17 Db. Many flooring options fall well below the 17 Db required, some achieving as little as 2 or 3 dB. Carpets generally exceed the British Standard and achieve more than 28 dB reduction, but you must check product specifications to ensure the flooring you are selecting meets or better exceeds current British Standards.

Trips and Fall

Older people living in care homes are 3 times more likely to fall than older people living in their own homes, with there being 10 times more hip fractures in care homes than any other environment. Falls can result in residents suffering pain, disability, loss of confidence and a general decline in the quality of their life. Many conditions can increase the risk of falling including acute infections like pneumonia, dehydration, rapid changes in blood pressure and brain function also known as delirium, which occurs with physical or mental illness.

Studies have shown that carpet when compared with vinyl, can reduce injuries caused by trips and falls. It’s also been proven that the gait speed and step length is greater in older people walking on carpeted areas than on vinyl. Carpet, therefore, provides residents with more confidence in navigating their environment and maintaining an element of independence.

Pile Construction

It’s important to check the carpet specification to ensure you are getting the best possible flooring solution and protecting your investment.

You can compare otherwise identical products by looking at the pile height which should be no greater than 5mm to allow the use of walking aids, trolleys and shuffling. The total pile weight should exceed 1000 grams per metre square and the pile density should be greater than 180,000 tufts.

Finding a combination of all these factors will provide you with a carpet that will perform, and last in such demanding environments.

Download our 5 Things To Consider When Specifying Carpet document

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