Janet Lowe, Head of Marketing UK and Ireland at Forbo Flooring Systems, discusses how the use of adhesive free floor coverings will allow care home managers to safely and effectively manage vulnerable residents before, during and after a refurbishment, in terms of reducing disruption, distress, as well as risk of infection.
A change of flooring can give individual spaces, such as private bedrooms, a much-needed refresh, or in the current climate, be used to incorporate zoning within communal areas to aid social distancing. However, planning for renovations within a live care home environment, where residents may be physically impaired or living with dementia, can prove challenging. While disruption and closures are not an option due to round-the-clock care, disturbance can cause anxiety amongst residents and difficulties for staff.
Therefore, care home managers must carefully consider how the work that will be carried out will affect daily operations and how best to manage the safety and wellbeing of residents pre-, during and post-refurbishment. For example, moving residents out of familiar surroundings for long periods of time could lead to distress and confusion, perhaps resulting in disruptive behaviour. And for bedroom renovations, staff will need to find a vacant room, bringing all the resident’s belongings with them, and furniture will also need to be moved and stored elsewhere for the refit to take place.
Opting for floor coverings that are traditionally glued down may take several days to install, depending on the size of the area; long disruptions that care homes simply do not have time for. Providing the existing sub floor is suitable, adhesive free floor coverings, therefore, can offer the most viable solution, as these products have been designed for projects where a quick turnaround and minimal downtime are essential. By opting for adhesive free products, the room being fitted will only be out of action for a minimal amount of time and furniture and belongings can be moved and then put back once areas are completed, resulting in less reorganisation.
As adhesive free products are quick and easy to install, this means that fitters will be required on site for less time and they can be in and out quickly; a major advantage as care homes may be hesitant to have tradespeople on site for too long, while concerns over infection control due to the coronavirus remain. What’s more, during refurbishment, lingering odours, dust and other constraints usually associated with adhesives are eliminated, contributing positively to the wellbeing of staff and residents.
Once the flooring has been fitted, no application or drying time needs to be factored into the project as the installation is completely free of adhesives. The area can be walked on immediately, wheelchairs can be rolled over straight away and furniture can be put back to its original place. In order for care home managers to ensure that flooring remains safe and hygienic for residents now and in the future, it is vital that floor coverings are regularly sanitised with an appropriate cleaner.
While the idea of a flooring renovation is enticing, product choice is key when it comes to reducing disruption and distress, as well as risk of infection, and ensuring the safety of residents. There are a wide range of adhesive free products available on the market in sheet, tile and plank format for maximum flexibility, including products that have been accredited by the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), for care homes looking to create dementia-friendly interiors. By working together with a reputable supplier, care home managers can ensure they are choosing the most suitable products.
For more information on Forbo’s own adhesive free collection of floor coverings, Fast Fit, please visit www.forbo-flooring.co.uk/fastfit or for more information about Forbo’s work with the DSDC, an international centre of knowledge and expertise dedicated to improving the lives of people with dementia, please visit www.forbo-flooring.co.uk/dementia