Walk through the front doors of many new hospitals, and you will see fewer bland white walls and floors. Healthcare facilities seek to make patients and their families feel more comfortable by creating an inviting aesthetic rich with colors, textures, and natural-looking materials.
“The trend in healthcare design in the last few years has been a warm, welcoming, more hospitality-like approach,” says Leann Pederson, interior designer with RDG Planning & Design in Des Moines, Iowa. One of Pederson’s recent projects was the expansion and redesign of Lakes Regional Healthcare, an Avera Partner and 49-bed, full-service community hospital in nearby Spirit Lake. “This design trend is patient-driven and based on creating a positive patient experience. And the staff enjoys it as well.”
Lakes Regional Healthcare has operated in this community since the 1950s, and is now in the middle of a five-part expansion and update of its interior spaces to reflect the area’s rolling hills and clear lakes.
Patcraft carpet tile was installed throughout the hospital: the two-story lobby, hallways, nurses’ stations in the critical care unit and birthing center, chapel, birthing rooms, a mezzanine waiting room and more. In neutral, nature-inspired shades and calming patterns, the carpet tile helped to pull together the hospital’s décor.
“One of the major design influences was the use of natural materials. This hospital is located off a major lake, so we incorporated a lot of rock, water, stone and wood,” says Pederson. “The new lobby uses these really nice materials and has more of a grand feeling of space, with a lot of windows so light comes in.”
Working with their architect at RDG, the Lakes Regional Healthcare staff looked for a different type of flooring than they had used before, says Fred Krueger, Director of Facilities. Some flooring that Krueger had installed in the past didn’t wear well or meet their high expectations. He needed a product that would accentuate their new design concept, be durable, easy to clean, and comfortable.
“The choice had to be significantly better than what we had installed in the past. After several product demonstrations and tests, we decided on flooring based first on durability and serviceability, and then on aesthetics — how well it fit in with the design effect we needed to accomplish. I believe we picked the ultimate flooring for our particular parameters,” Krueger says.
QUIET AND EASY TO CLEAN
Pederson mixed two Patcraft carpet tile patterns, an organic gingko leaf with a soft underlying texture and a complimentary textured design, to create subtle movement and a reflection of the hospital’s lake-dotted natural surroundings. The carpet tile helps to muffle noise and provide a cushion for nurses on long shifts, she says.
“For acoustic quality, carpet tile is very nice. We used it in the obstetrics area, in all the corridors. You walk into this department of the hospital and it is so quiet. It is just a calming environment,” Pederson says. “For nurses on their feet all day, carpet is so much softer and easier to stand on. We also had research around nursing staff slip/fall hazards on hard surfaces, so to alleviate these potential concerns, we went with carpet. I’ve heard nothing but good feedback about it since they opened.”
The Patcraft carpet tile is also durable, and easy to clean and maintain, says Krueger. The design and color of their new carpet contributes to the beauty of the space and to the overall perception of the hospital’s expansion.
“Aesthetics are vastly important, but how the new flooring blends with existing flooring, while still capturing the intended feel and theme of the new area was even more important. I think this was done exceedingly well,” he says. Lakes Regional Healthcare’s new carpet “cleans up well, looks nice, and is very durable. It will be a good installation for years to come.”
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