|Installation m²:||7,000 m²|
WHY OPT FOR CARPET TILES IN A RETIREMENT HOME?
Interview with Mr Bussy (Director of the Institution) and Ms Paturel (Public Health Nurse)
Built in 1697, Le Neubourg Hospital is a public institution run for the last decade by its Director, Mr Bussy, who has been responsible for the entire renovation and redevelopment of the 11 ageing buildings forming the hospital. With 190 bedrooms and accommodating 250 people, Le Neubourg welcomes residents in the later stages of life, with an average age of 84.
What made you opt for carpet tiles?
When the time came to renew the floors seven years ago, I saw that other countries such as Germany, the UK and Scandinavia were choosing to lay carpet in their retirement homes and the idea appealed to me. There’s an anti-carpet culture in France for some reason but your tests, analyses and treatments were enough to convince me.
What products were we in competition with?
Hard floors essentially, such as PVC or lino. But rolled PVC is difficult to lay, the welded seams don’t tend to hold, and lino doesn’t age very well. We therefore opted for carpet throughout the establishment, in corridors and bedrooms, covering an area of more than 7,000 m². Since you need to factor in adapting your maintenance routine when you make a choice of this sort, you can’t take half measures – it’s all or nothing. So I’d say that in terms of textile flooring, given our budget and local authority requirements, competition was limited; we weren’t overwhelmed with choice.
What made you choose carpet tiles over wide- width flooring?
There were several factors behind my decision to choose carpet tiles: first and foremost, they’re simple to lay; a medium-sized firm can easily take care of installation and maintenance staff can replace any damaged tiles with new ones themselves. Finally, the business development manager I was in contact with was very persuasive in explaining the benefits of carpet tiles over fitted carpet (flexibility, easier to transport, maintain and upkeep, fewer offcuts, liftable, and so on).
“I’d say the big benefit of your products is sound insulation”Mr Bussy, Director of Le Neubourg Hospital
Are you familiar with the usual stereotypes and prejudices associated with carpet tiles, particularly for a space of this sort?
Yes, from allergies and dust mites to cleanliness and so on, there’s no shortage of misconceptions related to carpet. I’ve no idea why this is so deeply rooted in people’s minds. I fully believe that carpet has demonstrable therapeutic qualities; your Intersept* treatment totally won me over in that respect.
Are you happy with the results of this treatment?
I’ll pass you over to Ms Paturel, our Public Health Nurse, as she’s better placed to answer that question than me. Ms Paturel: From a medical perspective, Intersept antimicrobial treated carpet tiles can’t be faulted. With no observed spread of bacteria or hospital-acquired infections, the results speak for themselves. When an infection does occur in one area, there’s been no spread to other areas. I have to admit that when I arrived three years ago, I was very surprised to see carpet on the floors of a retirement home, but I’m all the more pleasantly surprised to see how effective it is: there’s been no issue of odours in the bedrooms or in the corridors and so on.
Mr Bussy, you mentioned the therapeutic aspects of carpet, can you explain what you mean by this?
When I say that, the people in my profession jump up and down! Nonetheless, I still say that the underfoot comfort, soft touch and warm atmosphere carpet provides is undeniably beneficial for the elderly. What’s more, fall risk is a real problem for older people and can come about as a result of medication, diet, and floor surfaces. Whatever the case may be, carpet cushions falls and generally tends to reduce their likelihood. In our establishment, the fall rate is very low, with records showing one fall per person per year. Bedding retailers are now also offering additional mattress systems to safeguard against falls, which are costly and, thanks to carpeting, unnecessary. Textile flooring also offers other benefits. It’s a well-known fact that bladder control problems in the elderly can result involuntarily from their feet touching a cold floor. With carpet, the issue doesn’t arise and they can walk about bare-footed if they wish.
What in your opinion, in the seven years since our carpet tiles have been installed, are the strengths of our products?
In addition to those stated above, I’d say the big benefit of your products is sound insulation. As a result, our establishment is a place of calm and tranquility, both in the bedrooms and the corridors. When meal trolleys are wheeled along the corridors, for example, the carpet soaks up a great deal of the clatter. What’s more, it’s easy for our maintenance staff to swap a damaged tile for a new one. If there’s a downside to carpet, it might perhaps be that it wears slightly less well over time than PVC flooring. But to my mind, that works positively in its favour as it encourages us to change the flooring at least once a decade, allowing us to renovate and bring the floors up to date with new products and current trends.
Could you give us an idea of your maintenance costs? (carpet tiles, hard floors)
Of the 7,000 m² of carpet tiles laid, note that very few – only around 180 m² – have had to be changed.
Mr Bussy: There aren’t any extra costs involved with cleaning carpet tiles. They merely require different maintenance, upkeep, products and machines.
Ms Paturel: In both human and time resources, maintenance is a very big job. Of the 190 bedrooms, between 15 and 20 have to undergo injection/extraction cleaning once or twice a week!
M. Bussy: It’s difficult to truly compare a PVC floor with a carpet in terms of maintenance quality, because they require different levels of cleaning. If we use the rotating brush cleaner on PVC, it takes the same amount of time as with injection/ extraction cleaning. I’d say that carpet requires a more rigorous and methodical approach than a hard floor, but the outcome is better!
Have you had any problems with carpet and, if so, what type?
Ms Paturel: The only problem we’ve encountered with carpet is people’s scepticism. Trying to put an end to misconceptions is a constant battle, particularly with staff: half of them think it’s pleasant and comfortable, the other half are convinced it creates problems getting from A to B and so on, while some think that vacuuming spreads germs! People need to be trained and informed.
Mr Bussy: That’s why your analysis tests and results are very important for us (your Intersept file shows concrete tests and figures). That helps us to get people on side. I’m currently working on the refurbishment of another site and my colleagues came to visit Le Neubourg to see how our premises operate. They were initially surprised to see carpet, then won over by the concept. Once back on-site however, they were met with complete objection to the idea from staff. I personally wouldn’t hesitate to install carpet in other establishment!
Were you aware of our company and our products’ sustainable development commitment? If so, did this play a part in your decision?
I know a bit about your initiative and I’m fully aware of the subject since our retirement home is a public institution. The other building we’re working on is part of a major environmental programme.