Designers, specifiers and maintenance personnel all know that selecting durable, high quality interior finishes for healthcare facilities can avoid a range of problems down the line.
These include the cost and disruption of remedial work; accidents and injuries caused by damaged interior fixtures; and poor hygiene resulting from degraded surfaces.
Walls surfaces in particular must withstand a lot of wear and tear in healthcare settings. As with any busy, public building, the walls in hospitals are vulnerable to all kinds of damage – greasy marks from repeated touching, scuffs and scrapes from people brushing past, wilful damage such as graffiti or picking at interior finishes, and perhaps most significantly, damage from wheeled equipment – be it beds, trollies or portable diagnostic tools being moved around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Damaged walls don’t just look unsightly – they can be risky, too. Uneven surfaces, even if only lightly scratched, are harder to clean and can provide an ideal place for bacteria and viruses to breed. This puts a greater burden on cleaning staff and may result in reduced infection control standards. It’s vital for health, safety and morale that wall surfaces are well-protected and easy to maintain – which is why facilities use wall guards.
So what are the options when it comes to wall protection?
Key considerations when selecting a wall guard include the level of durability required, the specific needs of the end user, the underlying building infrastructure, the aesthetic of the finished space and of course, building regulation compliance. At Belroc, we take care of the latter by ensuring our product portfolio meets all the required standards and we’re always happy to advise on specific products for specific locations or applications. For the rest, we’ve put together a quick guide to the protection your facility might need…
Wall sheeting is perhaps the most obvious form of wall protection and can be found in almost every healthcare facility. It’s usually made of fiberglass, vinyl or PVC and provides a protective, non-porous skin over the wall surface for protection against scuffs, and superior cleanability.
Wall sheeting takes various forms, from the most basic flexible wall sheeting through to deluxe faux wood panelling, stainless steel and even amazing printed vinyls that can transform the most uninspiring of spaces into a haven for healing. Certain materials, such as PVC, can also be impregnated with antimicrobial compounds to further enhance their hygiene performance.
The hallways in healthcare facilities are super busy places, with bed traffic and equipment being moved around 24/7 – and even with the best ‘drivers’, accidents do happen! Damage to walls and freestanding furniture such as reception desks can also occur as a result of carts being pushed around, or even chair backs rubbing up against the walls in a lobby or waiting area. The unsightly marks left behind can quickly leave your facility looking down-at-heel.
Wall guards are designed to prevent beds and other equipment from coming into contact with your walls in the first place. There’s a solution for every department; vinyl bed bumper guards offer a high level of protection and are ideal for clinical areas where patients need to be moved frequently, or at speed.
Cart guards and chair rails provide specific protection for busy areas of the hospital or care home. Standard or sleek profile wall guards provide all-round protection with a stylish, unobtrusive look, and stainless steel wall guards may be the most suitable option for operational areas of your facility, such as catering, laundry or maintenance departments.
The corners of walls are the most prone to damage from passing traffic. People brushing past can cause a build-up of dirt and grime while impacts from passing carts, beds and other wheeled equipment can cause scrapes and chips, primarily to paintwork, and later to the structure of the wall itself. This uneven surface is porous and provides an ideal environment for germs to live and multiply. It can also pose an injury risk due to sharp edges.
Corner guards mitigate against this damage by providing a robust barrier against impact and a smooth, non-porous surface that is easy to clean and disinfect.
There’s a wide range of corner guard options available, from lightweight and clear polycarbonate options that are suitable for low-traffic, low risk areas, right through to heavy duty, high impact options made from vinyl or aluminium, including antimicrobial materials.
Environment, substrate and budget will all come to bear on the final selection and Belroc is well-placed to offer expert advice on the best product for each facility’s individual needs.
At Belroc, we have almost 20 years of expertise helped designers, specifiers and facility managers to develop healthcare interiors that are safer, longer lasting, and easier to maintain. To discuss how we can make a difference in your facility, contact Dan Lawrenson – firstname.lastname@example.org.