The use of a new type of flooring in healthcare settings could offer a viable option for the reduction of injuries from falls, new research suggests.
The human cost of falls can include distress, pain, injury, loss of confidence and loss of independence, while the overall direct healthcare cost to the NHS is estimated at £15m every year. This represents a cost of £92,000 a year for an 800-bed acute hospital trust, with 24 falls occurring every week. Current findings from field studies on the exact relationship between flooring and falls are largely inconclusive. Based on the available evidence, however, it states that concrete sub-floors sustain more injuries than wooden sub-floors.
It is important to consider the balance between risk of falling and risk of sustaining a serious injury for different flooring types. For example, one type of flooring may drastically reduce the risk of slipping or falling, but when a fall does occur it may be more likely to result in injury, or vice-versa.