Article Current Trends in Higher Healthcare

The healthcare industry is a world of constant change. While its foundation as a healthy environment that supports patient healing does not waver, what that environment looks like has never been more disrupted. Industry research is driving change not just in design, but in what a healthcare facility offers as a whole.

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Armstrong Flooring partnered with research firm WGSN to identify how and why trends are changing in healthcare. Here are four trends impacting the healthcare industry.

Hospitals and Healthcare Systems as Brands

From storytelling to elaborate welcoming lobbies, the way hospitals present themselves to the public is rapidly changing, especially in light of rapid healthcare system consolidation. To have more of a human and welcoming connection, hospitals are using strategic branding to change the experience and perception of a hospital visit. Hospital lobbies are being outfitted with soothing, biophilic experiences like burbling water, in addition to entertainment centers for children.

First impressions from the outside are being considered as well. Colorful facades that look more like museums are being designed, with long breezeways to welcome guests. Hospital rooms are designed to be comfortable like a living room, where the family of the patient — and their comfort — is being considered as well. This hospitality approach is even resulting in larger patient rooms to accommodate the extended family of a patient.

Some branding is bold and obvious, while others are more subtle. A simple and beautiful way to incorporate branded colors throughout a building is with the Custom Color LVT program, using Natural Creations with Diamond 10 Technology. Beginning with a Spettro base, custom Mixers accents are added for subtle color that can match branding throughout a healthcare facility.

In areas where vinyl sheet flooring is desired as a seamless flooring solution, hospital color schemes can be implemented into practical wayfinding applications as well.

Workplace Wellness

Research is increasingly showing the benefit of wellness in the workplace, and surveys indicate that more and more employees are seeking out wellness as a benefit. This includes mental wellness, and employers are responding by including spaces that offer employees solitary moments of quiet reflection. Employees recognize these key design features, as they help support emotional wellbeing.

Research drives the design of these spaces, which often include natural elements. This is the practice of biophilic design, incorporating nature into the built environment to create soothing and relaxed atmospheres.

Designing these spaces with natural elements in mind means seeking out appropriate products. Striations and Migrations BBT with Diamond 10 Technology coating is a sustainable, PVC-free, low-maintenance flooring solution made with a unique plant-based composition. Not only do the colors complement biophilic design, but the product’s makeup is ideal for spaces with a focus on sustainability and wellness.

Sustainability

As climate change becomes a growing area of concern, sustainability has become a vital part of the building process and day-to-day operations. A survey of Generation Z (born between 1995–2010) showed a personal obligation regarding their carbon footprint, and they value transparency and sustainability efforts. Given that the generation has over $1 billion in buying power this year alone, organizations — and healthcare facilities — are listening and planning for the future.

Medical centers have already begun developing green roofs, which help regulate building temperatures and reduce energy costs, while some facilities collect and filter rain water to irrigate property landscaping. A growing number of healthcare spaces are even achieving net-zero energy consumption, like Wisconsin’s Gundersen Health System which uses a wood-powered boiler as opposed to natural gas. Furthermore, biophilic design is incorporating timber, which is a renewable resource and can be locally sourced to avoid long-haul shipping.

Armstrong Flooring is committed to ongoing sustainability efforts, having recycled more than 100 million pounds of flooring through the On&On Recycling Program. The program works to recycle old flooring, even flooring that isn’t ours, as long as it meets the requirements of the program. Any future remodel could potentially incorporate the On&On Recycling Program, making it a more sustainable project from the outset.

The Silver Wave

According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the number of people older than 60 will rise from about 1 billion today to 2.1 billion in 2050. Globally, the number of people over 80 will more than triple, from 137 million to 425 million. How, exactly, we as a society plan for this influx of an aging generation remains to be seen, but there are trends beginning to take shape.

The design of senior living and elder care centers continues to evolve, in many instances simply being influenced by hospitality trends and in some cases becoming more and more elaborate. Centers are being designed to mimic a resort, while co-living spaces for seniors are another option that is beginning to see more popularity.

Regardless, creativity and innovation will be necessary to solve the issue of a rising senior population in decades to come. Innovation like Diamond 10 Technology and the evolution of Rigid Core flooring can provide a solid foundation, offering flooring solutions that reflect the warmth and comfort of home with the durability needed in a busy healthcare environment.