UW Health’s University Hospital in Madison, Wis., sought to reduce noise and improve the patient and staff experience in its newly renovated, 18-bed Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (Neuro ICU). Installing an ergonomic healthcare flooring product provided the solution.
Located on the fourth floor of University Hospital, the 13,000-sq.-ft. Neuro ICU was previously a rehab unit for orthopedics. That population moved to the newly built UW Health Rehabilitation Hospital. Administrators decided more high-acuity intensive care beds were needed, and as a result, the new Neuro ICU was created. The Neuro ICU project marks the first year of a multi-year renovation to add ICU rooms.
According to Ardis Hutchins, AIA, IIDA, CHID, EDAC, a licensed architect and registered interior designer with UW Health, noise reduction to improve HCAHP scores was a high priority for the design and specification of materials for the new Neuro ICU. The selection of proper flooring was paramount to meeting that objective. Kate Bautista, LEED AP, NCIDQ, associate vice president of HGA Architects and Engineers, was selected as the lead interior designer on the project to work with the hospital facilities team.
An interdisciplinary in-house team was tasked with selecting and evaluating the new flooring standards. “When it comes to patient safety in the healthcare setting, acoustics and falls are among the top issues to address,” added Bautista. “Slip resistance, footfall noise and comfort underfoot then become the factors to consider when selecting flooring,” said Hutchins.
Hutchins and the evaluating team reviewed research from Ecore on its flooring line. “Making the right selection on flooring is really critical in areas that are occupied 24/7,” said Hutchins. “We were interested in Ecore’s Forest Rx product because of its acoustic properties and resilient design.”
A second phase of the assessment included extensive in-house testing of a 60-ft. mockup of flooring in an unoccupied area of the hospital. The mockup was used to assess cleanability, waterjet cutting, heat welding, patching, push/pull of heavy equipment and static load indentation recovery of both standard and bariatric beds.
With testing and evaluation complete, UW Health proceeded with the installation of Ecore Commercial Flooring’s Forest Rx product. Forest Rx features 5-mm of Ecore’s composition rubber fusion-bonded to the back of a heterogeneous vinyl layer. With the new unit complete, UW Health is closely monitoring acoustics and falls in the updated area. “We have monitors throughout the new unit recording decibel levels to compare them to our historical benchmark readings from when the unit was previously occupied,” said Hutchins.