Weinheim, June 2017– In residences for the elderly and in nursing homes, special requirements apply to the equipment. Especially for very elderly residents and those with dementia, safety aspects are as important as a cosy ambience. Frequently therefore, operators choose rubber floor coverings from nora systems. These floor coverings are not only visually appealing, but also ensure a safe environment in several respects: rubber floors are toxicologically safe in the event of a fire, are non-slip, reduce the chance of falls, and meet the highest hygienic requirements. They are also easy and inexpensive to clean.
“We started converting our houses to rubber floor coverings from nora systems about ten years ago, and we have been using them ever since in our renovation projects, including in the St. Elisabeth senior’s home and nursing centre in Nuremberg,” reports Sabine L. Distler, psychogerontologist, who is responsible for the operation of three nursing homes in the Nuremberg area. “The rubber linings are toxicologically safe [according to the German Standard DIN 53436] in the event of fire. And that can save lives, since evacuating bed-bound residents requires an enormous amount of time." nora floor coverings are highly flame-retardant according to EN 13 501.
Injuries from falling are a serious problem in care facilities for the elderly. According to surveys conducted by the board of trustees of the German retirement assistance program (KDA), one out of every two residents falls at least once a year. Approximately 10% of these falls result in serious injuries such as thigh fractures. “nora rubber linings are extremely non-slip, even when wet,” Distler emphasizes. The danger of falls on them is reduced. If a fall occurs, however, the rubber, in contrast to other elastic floorings, slows the speed of the fall – the person hits the ground, so to speak, more slowly. Due to their permanent elasticity, the rubber coverings reduce the force of impact. “This reduces the number of injuries that we have observed in the past few years,” says Distler. The staff also benefits from the ergonomic properties of the rubber floors and the high level of underfoot comfort.
The visual limitations of elderly people also mean that floor coverings with low reflectivity are necessary in nursing care facilities. For the AWO Oberscholzenhof senior’s nursing home in Brensbach, Hesse, the “Architecture and Colour” office worked in close collaboration with builders, users, and architects to create a customized colour concept. The goal was to stimulate the inhabitants through a customized colour composition on the different floors, but at the same time to ensure safety and orientation as well. “The nora rubber flooring in an earthy brown tone not only ensures stability and spatial contours, but also evokes the idea of a path,” explains the architect and trained colour designer Jensine Heidemann of “Architektur plus Farbe (Architecture plus Colour).” “Because of the dark colour and the non-reflective matt surface of the flooring, the inhabitants can move safely and without fear.”
The quality of life of people in senior’s residences and nursing homes, especially those of bedridden residents, are greatly dependent on the quality of the air in the rooms – and this depends to a great extent on the type of flooring. In the daily life of the home, it is inevitable that bodily excretions will end up on the floor. With a porous surface, some traces remain on the surface even after immediate cleaning. These traces become more and more concentrated over the years, which is one of the reasons why many rooms in senior’s residences and nursing homes have bad air quality. “In order to ensure good indoor air quality, the flooring should meet strict ecological requirements. In addition, it has to be cleaned without the use of aggressive cleaning chemicals,” Distler emphasizes. nora rubber floors have been awarded the “Blue Angel” and do not need to be coated due to their highly waterproof surface. “The cleaning team in our homes does not need one single compound that comes with a hazard symbol. To clean the floor they use an environmentally friendly, surfactant-free cleaning agent.” “Even biological impurities caused by bodily excretions, which cannot always be avoided during the daily course of nursing care, do not produce unpleasant odours. The fact that nora floor coverings are resistant to hand and surface disinfectants is another advantage. Furthermore, due to their dimensional stability, the rubber floors do not generally need to be grouted. Joints not only affect the visual appearance, but also get dirty very easily, often break, and can result in unhygienic cracks.
The cost of acquiring a floor covering accounts for only 10% of the total costs; 90% of the costs are attributable to care and maintenance during the usable lifetime of the product. To ensure lasting economic savings, therefore, it is essential to include the life cycle costs. Particularly for smaller homes, which generally operate on a limited budget, the cost-saving cleaning options of uncoated rubber floorings is a great advantage. “It is always very difficult to shut down areas temporarily for basic cleaning and for laying new coatings,” says the director of Oberscholzenhof, Markus Mai. This is confirmed by Petra Günther, head of the “Glück Auf” Nursing and Care Centre in Benndorf/Saxony-Anhalt.
nora rubber floors allow for continual operation – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “The use of durable, high-quality products with advantageous life cycle costs always pays off,” Distler agrees. “To create a comfortable, attractive environment for the residents, we have the highest standards for flooring and all other building materials. In this way we also contribute to sustainability: the longer the flooring lasts, the more sustainable they are.*
Photos: Large Picture and 1 - 2: Uli Beuttenmüller, 3 - 5 Dirk Wilhelmy, 6 - 7 Michael Meschede
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About nora systems
nora by Interface is the commercial rubber flooring brand of Interface, Inc. Produced in Germany for more than 65 years, nora premium rubber helps to support operations, efficiencies, health, safety and well-being with sustainable flooring that eases maintenance, reduces noise, and provides added comfort underfoot.
Interface, Inc. is a global flooring company specializing in carbon neutral carpet tile and resilient flooring, including luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and nora® rubber flooring. We help our customers create high-performance interior spaces that support well-being, productivity, and creativity, as well as the sustainability of the planet. Our mission, Climate Take Back™, invites you to join us as we commit to operating in a way that is restorative to the planet and creates a climate fit for life.