Healthcare facilities are major contributors to carbon emissions, waste, and resource consumption. With the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare facilities have faced an increase in waste production due to the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning supplies, and medical waste. This surge in waste production has highlighted the need for sustainable practices in healthcare facilities, such as reducing waste, conserving resources, and using eco-friendly materials in their building designs.
In addition to the environmental impact, sustainable practices can also benefit the health and well-being of patients and staff. For example, eco-friendly flooring such as Marmoleum has very low TVOC emissions which creates a healthier indoor environment. Sustainable flooring can also be easier to clean and maintain, reducing the need for harsh chemicals and minimizing the risk of infections.
Although social distancing measures are no longer as strict as they were at the height of the pandemic, they have influenced a significant trend in healthcare flooring design. Creating designated walkways and wayfinding symbols has become an essential aspect of healthcare facilities' design, ensuring the safety and organization of patients and staff.
The experience of the pandemic has highlighted the importance of efficient and clear walkways, and healthcare facilities are likely to continue incorporating these trends into their flooring design. Visual markers can be made out of Marmoleum, Vinyl or Flotex, and can be incorporated directly into the planning and design. The materials are individually cut on site and firmly integrated into the floor. They are robust, easy to clean and even have antibacterial effects in the case of Marmoleum.
The pandemic forced many healthcare facilities to limit visitors, which has increased feelings of isolation and loneliness for patients. To combat this, healthcare designers are creating more home-like environments that provide comfort and familiarity. Private rooms with natural light and comfortable furnishings can help patients feel more at ease during their stay.
Healthcare facilities are also incorporating flooring design elements that create a more inviting, comfortable, and welcoming environment, such as warm colors, wood-look flooring, and carpeting. This can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can benefit patient outcomes and staff morale.
Biophilic design incorporates natural elements into indoor spaces to promote health and well-being. This trend has gained momentum in recent years, and it has become even more important in the wake of the pandemic. Biophilic design can improve patient outcomes and well-being by providing a connection to nature, reducing stress, and improving cognitive function.
Flooring design can contribute to biophilic design by incorporating natural materials such as wood and using patterns or textures that mimic natural elements.
Flexible spaces allow for a quick and efficient response to changing needs, such as converting non-patient areas into temporary patient care spaces, which has been a crucial aspect during the pandemic. Healthcare facilities needed to be able to respond to surges in patients and changing infection control protocols. Flexible spaces today can help maximize the use of existing square footage, improve patient flow, and create more efficient workflows for staff.
Our Fast Flooring ranges can contribute to creating flexible spaces with modular or interlocking flooring systems that can be easily installed, removed, or reconfigured as needed.
In conclusion, healthcare interior design is rapidly evolving in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From biophilic design to flexible spaces, healthcare facilities are seeking new solutions to meet the changing needs of patients and staff.
Flooring design is one area where innovation is taking place, with new materials and technologies emerging to create more sustainable environments. Forbo Flooring Systems is a leading provider of innovative and sustainable flooring solutions for healthcare facilities, offering a wide range of products that meet the highest standards of hygiene, durability, and design.