Effects of carpet on human health and wellbeing in health care facilities
Salonen, Heidi, Lahtinen, Marjaana, Lappalainen, Sanna, Morawska, Lidia, & Reijula, Kari (2015) Effects of carpet on human health and wellbeing in health care facilities. In 10th International Scientific Conference of the International Occupational Hygiene Association, 25-30 April 2015, London, UK.
Flooring materials may have a broad impact on the health, safety, comfort, and confidence level of patients, visitors, and employees in health care facilities (HCFs). We reviewed scientific research related to the effects of carpet on human health and wellbeing in HCFs, using Google and Pubmed in our literature search. According to the literature, using carpet has some advantages: certain serious pathogens survive for a shorter time on carpet than on other floor coverings, carpeting transfers less pathogens to hands than vinyl or rubber flooring, noise is reduced, glare is reduced, walking is easier, falls and resultant injuries are less likely, visits by family and friends are longer (increased social support), and carpets encourage a feeling of safety and improved personal psychological and thermal comfort, and produce a more homelike, non-institutional, ambience. The reported disadvantages of carpets are: they are more difficult to keep clean than hard flooring ‒ bacteria returns to pre-cleaning levels fairly quickly, occupant activities such as heavy and fast walking can re-suspend more dust from carpets than from equally loaded hard floors, and it can be difficult for staff to push carts, gurneys and wheelchairs down carpeted hallways ‒ this has been associated with an increased risk of neck, shoulder and lower back pain. In conclusion, both advantages and disadvantages to using carpet in HCFs have been reported. CDC/HICPAC guidelines suggest that carpeting should be avoided in areas where spills are likely to occur or when patients are at greater risk of airborne infections. Proper methods of carpet maintenance and cleaning are critical to minimize or prevent the production of aerosols and the dispersal of carpet microorganisms into the air.
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