Mats for Healthcare -  A Buyer’s Guide

We’ve put together this Healthcare Matting Buyer’s Guide to help you choose the correct matting for your healthcare facility. We’ve tried to make it as easy to digest as possible, but sometimes nothing beats speaking to someone to get the answer you need. We’re available during UK office hours on 0121 313 6748 or alternatively send an email to sales@mats4u.co.uk and we will respond on our return.

As with many industries, the Health Industry has its own set of challenges and requirements. The right matting will help overcome these challenges, but choosing the wrong matting can cause its own problems as well as being a waste of resources.

Mat in Hospital Waiting Room

The Health industry is extremely diverse. The mats mentioned in this guide are primarily aimed towards the following types of Healthcare facilities:

  1. Hospitals
  2. Surgeries
  3. Laboratories
  4. Care Homes

In this guide, we cover mats with specialist properties to overcome some of the major challenges in the Health Industry which include:

  1. Keeping a facility clean
  2. Preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses
  3. Ensuring surfaces can easily be cleaned and sterilised
  4. Providing a safe standing or walking surface

 

Entrance Mats:

All Healthcare facilities aim for the highest standards of cleanliness to stop germs and bacteria from spreading. Keeping dirt out of the building in the first place is a good way to ensure your facility remains clean.

Hospital entrance with revolving door mat

What makes effective entrance matting?

Effective entrance matting provides a safe walking surface and will remove and store dirt until it can be cleaned away at a suitable time.

How to choose effective entrance matting:

  1. Choose a size which allows enough steps to be taken on the matting. People do not wipe their feet, so size is important. The more steps taken on the mat, the more it will be able to scrape and wipe the footwear and so remove more dirt and water.
  2. Bi-level entrance mats are the most effective at removing dirt and water. A bi-level mat has two levels. The upper level takes the dirt off and the lower level stores the dirt below the surface so that people can’t walk through it and spread it further. A single level mat is more liable to crush down the more they are walked over. This lessens their scraping and wiping ability. They are also considerably less effective at storing dirt, allowing it to be tracked off the mat onto surrounding floors.
  3. Choose well / recess matting or low profile matting with a bevelled edge. Health facilities generally have more visitors in wheelchairs, or visitors who have difficulty walking or lifting their feet. A correctly installed well / recess mat will be at the same level as the surrounding floor, so doesn’t cause a trip hazard or make it difficult for wheelchairs to transition onto and over the mat. Installing a well can be costly, so if you use loose lay mats, use mats with a low profile or with bevelled edges less than 10mm in height which will minimise the risk of trips and falls.
  4. Use more than one mat to perform different tasks. At Mats4U we think that a three mat entrance system is the ultimate matting system for stopping dirt. Use an outdoor mat to stop the heavy dirt and mud, an interior bi-level entrance mat to scrape and wipe dirt away and a finishing mat to remove any remaining dust and moisture.
  5. Choose a rubber backed entrance mat. In comparison to PVC / Vinyl backed mats, rubber mats are less likely to creep from where they were placed and are far less liable to split, crack or curl. For this reason, choose rubber mats to minimise the risks of slips, trips and falls.

Mat Recommendations: Waterhog Classic Tiles, Waterhog Classic Mats, Tri Grip Heavy Duty, Superscrape

 

Mats to stop the spread or growth of bacteria

Mats can be treated with anti-microbial additives which inhibit the growth of bacteria on the mat itself. In the Health Industry, controlling germs is of paramount importance for the well-being of the patients, visitors and staff. Bacteria can also be the source of unpleasant odours. Mats may not be the solution to stopping germs, but if they are not properly cleaned they can become a contributing factor.

Microguard Mat in clinic

Areas where bacteria are most likely to come into contact with mats in healthcare facilities, include:

  1. Where surgery takes place
  2. Wash rooms / toilet facilities
  3. Scrub down areas
  4. Bed side areas
  5. Vending machines

You should avoid mats which are liable to provide a breeding ground for bacteria. These include mats with fabrics or crevices that are difficult to clean. Cushion mats with open foam backings can literally sponge up and hold onto bacteria and so should also be avoided.

Instead, choose mats with the following features:

  1. Anti-microbial additives which last the lifetime of the mat
  2. Easy to clean or sterilise. Certain mats are made to be suitable for cleaning in an autoclave
  3. Cushion mats with encapsulated foam

 Mat Recommendations: Comfort Flow, Microguard, Complete Comfort

 

Mats to help with staff fatigue

The health industry is well known for its staff having to work long hours. During these long shifts, staff frequently stand or walk on hard floors which can quickly cause fatigue of the body and mind. In an industry where often decisions need to be made quickly and with good logic, fatigue is a serious issue to be avoided.

Anti-fatigue mats help reduce fatigue by providing a cushioned surface where staff usually stand or walk frequently. Not only are they more comfortable to work on, they also stimulate blood flow around the body which helps reduce fatigue of the joints and muscles.

Studies have shown that anti fatigue mats can help improve productivity and reduce staff absenteeism through sickness.

Anti Fatigue Mat in Hosptal Reception

Common areas where anti fatigue mats are used in health care:

  1. Behind reception desks
  2. Operating rooms
  3. Laboratories
  4. Examination rooms

Ideally choose Anti-Fatigue mats with anti-microbial properties and closed cell cushioning that will not harbour bacteria as discussed in the previous section. If the mat is to be used in an area where moisture or spillages occur, choose one with a high traction surface.

Mat Recommendations: Happy Feet, Comfort Flow, Complete Comfort

 

Non-slip safety mats for healthcare:

Non-slip safety mats are used to provide traction in areas which are prone to have slips and falls. Due to the nature of healthcare, there are many areas which will have an increased likelihood of moisture or spillages.

MG Patient Bedside mat

Areas at risk of slips in heathcare commonly include:

  1. Patient Bedsides
  2. Surgeries
  3. Laboratories
  4. Washrooms
  5. Scrub down areas
  6. Canteens
  7. Vending

Choose non-slip safety mats made of rubber, as these are less likely to move on the floor and can easily be cleaned. If grease or chemicals are prevalent, then choose resistant mats made of nitrile rubber.

Mat Recommendations: Comfort Flow, Superscrape, Traction Tread

 

Mats for clean rooms and laboratories:

For rooms that are particularly sensitive to fine particles of dirt and dust entering them, such as clean rooms or laboratories, specialist mats need to be used.

Mats can be used at entrances to the room to remove fine dust and dirt particles on whatever passes over them. Sticky / adhesive mats are particularly effective at removing very fine dust and dirt from footwear and trolley wheels etc. Once an adhesive layer becomes soiled, it is then peeled away to reveal a fresh clean layer. These mats can also be combined with dust control mats to provide an effective system.

Another consideration that must be made for particularly sensitive environments is that some mats can shed fine particles. Bits of rubber or fabric can become detached from the mat and are then released into the environment they are placed within. Specialist mats for clean room applications ensure no, or very little, shedding of materials.

Mat Recommendations: Happy Feet, Clean Stride Adhesive, Clean Stride Dual

 Clean Room Mat

What to do next?

We hope this buyer’s guide has helped you make an informed choice with regards to choosing matting for your healthcare facility. Mats suitable for the health industry are available to purchase through our Mats4U website www.mats4u.co.uk.

For further advice, or to request samples of mats, please call us on 0121 313 6748, or email sales@mats4u.co.uk