Portsmouth Hospital

Project: Portsmouth Hospital

Following trials an NHS hospital is hoping to reduce trips and falls in its dementia ward by installing Tarkett flooring. Conducted by the University of Portsmouth, the Hip-Hop Flooring Study discovered that installing Tarkett’s Omnisports flooring was likely to reduce the injuries suffered by older people when falling over due to its shock-absorbent foam backing.

The Omnisports range is commonly used in sports halls but it was found that the same shock-absorbing properties that help prevent injuries to sports users also benefits dementia patients and the elderly at risk of falls. As a result of the study, Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust has now installed 1600sqm of Tarkett’s Omnisports Training 5mm flooring in the treatment bedrooms of the hospital’s four acute wards, which care for frail, older patients.

TV broadcaster and patron of the Alzheimer’s Disease Society, Fiona Philips, officially opened the renovated wards on Friday, January 31.

Julie Windsor, Patient Safety Lead, Older People and Falls for NHS England, said: “New guidelines set by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend that more needs to be done to improve the built environment of care facilities including hospitals with a view to improving patient safety. The research by Portsmouth University showed that the Tarkett flooring performed favourably compared to other flooring types in potentially reducing the risk of serious injury following a fall. Choosing Tarkett flooring was therefore a pragmatic choice that we have installed around patient bed areas. We opted for the 5mm as the 8mm is slightly too think to install in corridors where the pushing of heavy objects and patient beds can mark it.”

The Omnisports Training 5mm flooring also comes with an R9 slip resistance rating and the shock-absorbent foam backing reduces noise helping to create a quieter, calmer environment for dementia patients.

Another important factor making the flooring ideal for hospital and care environments is its range of 32 quality designs.

Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust opted for a classic oak finish. Julie said: “Colour, design and pattern are incredibly important when choosing a floor for dementia wards. Too bright and high glare finish can be confusing to the older eye and designs that are too busy with solid lines or heavy repeating patterns can be daunting. The classic oak design selected is reassuring and homely, it creates a calming environment that ensures patients feel safe and stay in their rooms. With an ageing population research into built environments and dementia will become increasingly more important. The Hip-Hop Flooring Study has been a pioneering piece of research that we expect will provide a blueprint for future studies – and not just in flooring.”

Finance for the renovation of the wards has been provided by grant from The Department of Health.

Steve Urwin, Tarkett UK Marketing Manager, said: “The Hip-Hop Flooring Study was a major, evidence led research project into the benefits of Tarkett’s slip-resistant, shock-absorbent, safety flooring. Seeing the results of that study put into practice in an excellent hospital like the Queen Alexandra run by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust is fantastic. The potential benefits to patients and staff are huge. Dementia care is one area Tarkett has specifically focused on and has issued a supporting guide in collaboration with health experts from across Europe."

Steve said: “The guide, Designing Alzheimer’s Facilities, covers flooring, lighting and acoustics and is an essential tool for specifiers and architects when designing dementia care facilities. Dementia, and in particular Alzheimer’s, is a major public health concern and by 2030 will likely effect 65million people.For this reason a better understanding of the condition is essential.”