The floor covering also offers a simple cleaning regimen. According to Tim Cole, director of environmental services for Reading Health Systems, “It’s a lower maintenance product, requiring less labor and materials…It offers as much as 20 to 30 percent in labor savings related to the care and maintenance of the floor.” It also enables the hospital to improve patient throughput by quickly turning over patient rooms. Meanwhile, the floor covering’s dense, durable surface inhibits the growth of bacteria and other harmful organisms, contributing to an environment that fosters healing.
Three years ago, Reading Hospital, in West Reading, PA, embarked on a $354 million expansion project that would add 476,000 square feet to the 147-year-old hospital. The goal was to replace and relocate operating rooms spread across four buildings and provide 150 new private patient rooms. Today, Seventh Street Tower, as the new nine-story addition is called, welcomes patients and visitors to a facility that features privacy, flexibility and the latest technology available to healthcare professionals and their patients.
“nora nTx was very important to us from a schedule and cost standpoint, because it did not require a moisture mitigation system to be installed prior to the floor going down, which represents a savings in not only dollars, but also in time,” says Jeff Hutwelker, project executive with LF Driscoll Co., LLC, the Bala Cynwyd, PA-based company that provided construction management. Hutwelker goes on to say the selection of noraplan eco with nora nTx offered two important advantages from a construction standpoint. The floor significantly reduced installation time. “Secondly, we had one company providing all of the warranty for the flooring, which is pretty much unheard of on other projects. We’re getting one warranty from one supplier on the project, which is very helpful.”
Other individuals involved in the project point to additional advantages nora flooring offers. According to David Major, director of facilities and construction at Reading Health System, “Maintenance of the product is greatly enhanced in the fact that we do not have to un-wax or wax the floors…The care and maintenance of the product has potentially been the largest, greatest effect with regards to selecting noraplan eco with nora nTx.”
Tim Cole, director of environmental services for Reading Health Systems, agrees. “ In addition, from an environmental standpoint, you can clean and maintain the floor with less caustic chemicals and cleaners as opposed to other traditional floor coverings.”
Cole also points to the positive impact nora flooring has upon throughput, the ability to move patients through the hospital. “With the nora flooring, we are able to turn over patient rooms very quickly—probably in half the time it would normally take to do a floor that we have to clean and wax.” And, he appreciates the floor’s low-gloss finish. “Historically, flooring and floor surfaces were real shiny and glossy. What we’ve come to find is patients that make up the older population have some difficulty with walking and getting around a facility when they see a lot of shiny floors. It’s sometimes disorienting.”
Patient safety is front and center for Marie Keim, director of epidemiology infection control and prevention at Reading Health System. “From an infection prevention perspective, I think flooring is very important in its durability. The fact that this floor is very solid and dense provides an extra barrier for us, and it gives Environmental Services a floor that can be cleaned easily. The surfaces are smooth; we don’t need to be concerned about residual water, bacteria and other items going into cracks and crevices and harboring any sort of bacteria or organisms.”
She adds, “I think the other positive aspect of the nora flooring is that it resists staining, so that betadine, iodine and other agents that can be very offensive in appearance won’t be a problem. I also think the floor has a comfort and an ease for our staff who. It makes it much easier to stand throughout our day as we provide services to our patients.” Looking back on the project and the selection of noraplan eco with nora nTx, Major best summed up everyone’s experience with the product. “If I was advising someone who was selecting a flooring covering, I would tell them to take a very close look at a product with regards to the overall cost and the relative cost over time versus other products, taking into consideration both the use, the durability of the product and the amount of time and number of people required to maintain it. When we examined this over the duration of this project, we found that the nora flooring with nora nTx is far superior than our other choices.”