Healthcare Worker Wellness with Impact of Flooring

Amazing! Healthcare Worker Wellness with Impact of Flooring

Information about Healthcare Worker Wellness with Impact of Flooring

Phil Puccio

As the COVID-19 pandemic presented the world with two of the most challenging years in recent history, healthcare workers have been on the front lines of the pandemic and have experienced a whole new level of stress and demands in the workplace. Nonetheless, healthcare facilities are expected to provide a safe and healthy environment for patients and a positive work experience for staff. Whether it’s a hospital, outpatient facility, PT clinic, pharmacy or laboratory, the physical and emotional health of the provider has a direct impact on the quality of care provided.

The average age of today’s nurse is 52 years. They work 10- to 12-hour shifts, cover many miles in a day, and experience other physically demanding aspects of their jobs.

It is crucial for providers to focus on and improve the ergonomic conditions of their employees’ environment in order to improve productivity and employee retention. Improved seating, better work tools and new technologies are all contributing to a more ergonomically friendly healthcare space. The not-so-obvious contribution to employee well-being and health? The floor.

The theme of ergonomics relating to floors should be broadly defined to include comfort, fatigue, musculoskeletal strain, as well as injury and emotional distress caused by noise in the indoor environment. Each factor contributes to or detracts from the overall well-being of the patient, resident or staff.

Healthcare worker injuries are among the highest in the industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Musculoskeletal disorders account for a third of all workplace injuries reported to employers, closely followed by back, leg and foot fatigue. This is one of the main reasons why designers, facility managers and healthcare administrators are paying more attention to creating environments that support healthcare workers.

Health design and methodical flooring specification

Most traditional flooring products offer little or no ergonomic relief and as a result can contribute to medical staff pain, discomfort and fatigue. flooring performance was once measured solely in terms of durability, maintainability, patient mobility, and affordability. Although these qualities are still important, today we are entering a new era in which expectations of a floor are changing and we demand more from it.

When building and designing a space, the focus of the work environment must be people and not just the product. It should be about how floors and other materials can improve the lives of patients, residents and staff. This is accomplished by specifying a flooring product better designed and engineered for healthcare applications.

Studies confirm strong links between the built environment and wellness

Evidence-based healthcare facility design studies conducted by the Center for Health Design have demonstrated a clear link between the built environment and the impact of flooring on caregiver well-being. These studies also show the impact on patient experience and health outcomes. A caregiver who is not tired, stressed, or pain-free provides better quality of care at the bedside. Likewise, a therapist, pharmacist or laboratory technician is more alert and productive when the workplace offers improved ergonomics.

Hospital staff who have had experience with ergonomic floor coverings report better walking comfort and relief and often mention the reduced noise and acoustic properties of the product. Nurses even told us they had requested transfers to other hospital departments because of the better floor space. In addition, flooring offers products that reduce noise and are superior acoustic properties also support the patient’s healing process and show that ergonomics play a much larger role in product specification.

Based on the insights from evidence-based design research, the direction of designers and architects today is moving away from the sterile, institutional environment towards looks that are more natural, warmer and more homeopathic in design. This lends itself to influencing the hospitality industry, with a focus on creating a calming, comfortable environment for patients, visitors and staff.

Innovative technology and optimal floor covering

One must consider force reduction and energy return, or energy storage and return, to understand the science behind truly ergonomic flooring. Power reduction measures the amount of energy the ground absorbs when stepped on. Energy return measures the amount of energy returned to the body from the flooring when a step is taken. These are the key components to consider when choosing the right flooring for a healthcare facility.

With a softer ground, more energy is absorbed from the ground and less energy is returned to the foot. The result – more power is required for each step. The harder the ground, the greater the energy return to the foot, causing more discomfort to the body. It’s important to find the optimal balance between the energy you want the floor to absorb and the amount you want returned to the body comfortably.

Ecore flooring products uses a patented technology called itsTRU™ to fuse a high performance wear layer with a 5mm Ecore recycled rubber backing. It has been tested and shown to significantly reduce the impact of falls and provide superior impact sound insulation and energy return compared to other traditional resilient flooring. In addition, Ecore’s range of itsTRU products are also capable of reducing structure-borne noise, creating a much quieter space.


Ergonomic materials Healthcare, including how a floor – the foundation of healthcare environment design – can contribute to the comfort and health of caregivers is officially receiving the attention it deserves from designers, architects and specifiers. When healthcare workers have a better quality of life, it impacts the quality of care they provide, which in turn can contribute to significant improvements in patient care and overall satisfaction rates

Specifying a more comfortable, ergonomic flooring material can help reduce chronic pain to improve productivity and the quality of patient care, reduce absenteeism and lost time claims, and result in an overall improvement in the quality of life for committed healthcare providers.

About the author: Mark Huxta is Healthcare Director of Sales at Ecore, a company that converts reclaimed waste into high-performing flooring that exceeds industry standards. Ecore’s products combine significant force reduction with a balanced amount of energy return to create surfaces that meet virtually any commercial flooring requirement. For more information on Ecore, see

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