The Virginia Treatment Center for Children tested the Forest Rx flooring before installing it in its 32 patient rooms.

Image courtesy of Ecore

Situated within the campus of the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the Virginia Treatment Center for Children (VTCC) has been providing vital mental health care for children and adolescents across the state of Virginia since 1956. VTCC is the child and adolescent division of the VCU department of psychiatry.

Offering both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services to patients from ages 3-17, the VTCC treats a wide range of health issues from depression and attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to anxiety, autism spectrum disorder and behavioral problems. To meet a growing need for mental health services for the state’s youth and support ongoing research and training of behavioral health professionals, the VTCC embarked on a plan to construct a new larger facility.

In removing the facility from its 50-year-old institutional space on the downtown VCU Health campus, Alexandria W. Lewis, executive director of the VTCC, sought to refresh the healing environment of the new center with thoughtful design choices.

“When it comes to behavioral health facilities, it’s important to reach a balance between comfort and safety in design,” Lewis says. “We wanted to create an atmosphere for the new facility that was not institutional but rather as home-like as possible.”

The new design called for secure green spaces, natural light and a bright color palette. However, to meet the needs of a modern health care center, the specification of the design materials required additional attention to safety, including the specification of ergonomic and hygienic flooring for inpatient rooms and the gymnasium.

According to Lewis, the acute inpatient hospital had to consider low infection risk, durability and comfort for children who may be barefoot or in socks. Enhanced acoustics also was a concern with a focus on quieting the interior space and reducing stress and anxiety related to noise.

“We sought a seamless flooring option that could be contoured up the wall for infection control purposes, and that was durable, quiet and created a comfortable environment for patients and staff,” Lewis says. “We were interested in Ecore’s Forest Rx product because it features all of those attributes.”

To allow staff to evaluate the functionality of Ecore flooring, a mock inpatient room was built and then tested by both the nursing and plant operations staff, with testers reporting Forest Rx to be aesthetically pleasing and a vast improvement in comfort underfoot over the current floors.

The flooring is now installed in all 32 patient rooms within the new facility. Forest Rx features 5 millimeters of Ecore’s composition rubber fusion-bonded to the back of a heterogeneous vinyl layer. This combination creates a surface that helps to reduce the risk of injury associated with falls, while offering sound control and comfort underfoot. The result is a surface that provides a comfortable and safe environment.

The VTCC gymnasium, a 3,728-square-foot multipurpose space that serves as an inpatient gym area, but also hosts training services and features a retractable stage and screens for special receptions and events, required a low-maintenance, high-end finish surfacing option that would help create a comfortable and quiet environment for patients. 

The VTCC chose Strait Rx to complement the Forest Rx installation.

Strait Rx’s heat-welded installation offers a hygienic polish-free maintenance regime for the entire lifetime of the surface, ensuring the floor looks clean and fresh with little to no upkeep.

“We are very satisfied with the new Ecore flooring in our inpatient rooms and gym,” Lewis says. “Feedback from the staff has been really positive. Aesthetically, the floors look very good and are easy to maintain.”