A Case for Vinyl

As evidence-based design brings about a more rigorous product selection process in healthcare environments, vinyl flooring is ready for the spotlight.

10.25.2012 by Catherine Del Vecchio

Evidence-based design (EBD) emphasizes the importance of using credible data in order to influence the design process. This approach has been popular within the healthcare A&D community as designers have worked to improve patient and staff well-being, speed the healing process, reduce stress and ensure safety, but hospital executives and facility managers have also begun embracing EBD principles to help them do their jobs more effectively. They have a responsibility to patients and staff to ensure certain objectives are met, and this has encouraged significant changes in the design of healthcare environments.

In today’s healthcare environment, a team of architects, designers, facility managers and hospital executives identify what the goals and objectives of a project are and then combine it with research to create an overall design. Once completed, this group considers how EBD objectives impact the decisions of a built environment, right down to the selection of the proper flooring. It’s crucial that everyone be involved in this process so buy-in is achieved early on from hospital administration, doctors, facility managers, maintenance crews, and last but not least, designers.

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with a constant stream of doctors, visitors, nurses and patients. The brunt of this steady activity is borne by the flooring, which has to withstand some of the worst spills and heaviest medical equipment, while also preventing slips and providing comfort underfoot. Balancing form and function is even more challenging when you consider a floor must also be aesthetically pleasing, antimicrobial, easily maintained, cost effective and environmentally friendly—all while creating a space where patients can heal and medical professionals can work to enhance positive outcomes.

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