From flooring to finishes to building materials, health care facility planners and builders face greater expectations than ever before to select products that support a healthy environment for patients, staff and visitors.
This issue extends well beyond creating safe environments. Today, more and more hospitals are being designed from the outset with cleaning and sustainability considerations in mind. In this installment of Interiors, Amy Eagle explores the demand for furnishings, flooring and other materials that are easy to clean and maintain as well as the desire for long-lasting environmental performance.
Hospital furnishings and design materials are coming under closer scrutiny when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. Various studies have shown that patient care environments can harbor bacteria for extended periods, even when following routine cleaning and disinfection practices. Furniture and other products that have nooks and crevices that can capture food or dirt particles make it especially difficult to achieve desired cleaning thoroughness and disinfection.
Our first report fleshes out the ways manufacturers are designing their furniture products to make them easy to clean and able to stand up to disinfectant chemicals. This supports the aims of health care facilities teams to create and maintain environments that contribute to the health of both patients and staff.
Our second report, which is on sustainable materials, examines some of the many ways suppliers are transforming their products to become more environmentally friendly and durable. You’ll learn about some of the ways materials are being produced with higher levels of reclaimed waste. Also, some flooring products are being designed with higher light reflectivity, which can reduce energy usage. Finally, wall systems and materials also are evolving, giving building operators greater flexibility and longer product life.
Many hospitals are putting metrics in place to specify products that are manufactured with proven, safe materials and for replacing products containing various chemicals that don’t contribute to a healthy environment.
Bob Kehoe is senior editor of Health Facilities Management.