LaGrange, Ga.—A flooring system that has been shown to help reduce fall-related injuries is about to make its way into the healthcare market thanks to an agreement reached between InterfaceFLOR and SATECH, Inc., developers of SmartCells cushioning technology. In signing the deal, InterfaceFLOR becomes the exclusive soft flooring manufacturer to offer the proven fall protection surface that SmartCells provide.
“This launch represents the marriage of two proven leaders in their respective fields and an exciting new era for healthcare environments as we introduce a flooring system with significant preventative benefits,” said John Wells, Interface America’s president & CEO. “InterfaceFLOR has distinguished itself the past 37 years with a portfolio of innovative products, and in teaming with SATECH and adding SmartCells to an InterfaceFLOR installation, we’re achieving our goal to create aesthetically pleasing interiors for healthcare facilities while helping to reduce injuries from falls. With this breakthrough, we’re expecting to help play a leading role in reducing ever-increasing healthcare costs.”
In fact, it was compelling statistics, such as skyrocketing healthcare costs, that catalyzed the collaboration between InterfaceFLOR and SATECH. Injurious and fatal falls have been a growing concern for hospitals, assisted living and healthcare facilities, and the situation has become especially acute as the “boomer” generation now swells the ranks of the aging population. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 30% and 40% of people over the age of 65 fall each year, and approximately 40% are repeat fallers. In addition, nearly 90% of hip fractures are due to falls. Approximately 20% of older adults hospitalized for a hip fracture die within a year, and about 50% will suffer a major decline in independence. For facility administrators, falls and related injuries result in high insurance costs and potentially expose the facility to fall-related lawsuits.
“Our SmartCells cushioning technology provides a stable surface for normal day-to-day activities that softens upon impact, thus giving it a unique dual-stiffness characteristic,” said SATECH president Bryce Betteridge. “The flooring surface has been shown to reduce fall-related injuries. In many cases, preventing a hip fracture or concussion becomes a life-saving intervention for our elderly.”
While SmartCells adds significantly to the InterfaceFLOR benefits, the modular carpet tile company consistently has provided “go-to” flooring solutions for the healthcare sector, and its products represent a preferred alternative to other flooring surfaces for a variety of reasons. InterfaceFLOR carpet tiles allow effective compliance with infection control procedures and standards. Hazardous spills are easily addressed because the affected tiles can simply be replaced and the area properly decontaminated and sanitized by housekeeping or maintenance staff without having to call in a floor covering specialist. What’s more, since all InterfaceFLOR carpet tiles incorporate its proprietary preservative, Intersept, the carpet also is protected against mold, odor, bacteria, and other harmful microorganisms. Then, there’s the distinct advantage that neither InterfaceFLOR nor SmartCells requires use of glue for installation, which reduces the mess, odor, VOCs, and need to relocate patients or staff during the installation or replacement process. Furthermore, the dimensional stability of InterfaceFLOR’s modular carpet tile also is well established in the industry. Mobility tests involving hospital beds, gurneys, wheelchairs, carts and equipment have shown resistance rates on par with hard surfaces, yet the carpet tile is a more resilient and forgiving option that also offers anti-fatigue protection for caregivers. Acoustically, of course, carpet tile is a preferable alternative to hard surfaces, and this positively impacts the overall comfort and healing environment that is a prerequisite for a healthcare facility. Some studies show that in those facilities where the acoustics are better, hospital stays are 15% shorter and there are 25% fewer staff errors.
Another valued feature of InterfaceFLOR carpet tiles is their inherent sustainability. Many of the company’s products and its manufacturing processes include features that are designed to help lower the environmental footprint of a facility.