Out with the old (carpet) at KGH

After 38 months, Kingston General Hospital replaced its carpeting with vinyl floors.

The project was funded by a one-time grant from the Department of Health and Long-Term Care of US $ 7 million. More than 24,000 square feet of carpet was removed, the equivalent of four and a half soccer fields, while carpets were removed and 20 floors of renovation were carried out in 23 different patient care areas of the hospital.

The carpets had been around since the 1970s. At the time, they were believed to reduce noise and falls, and provide a welcoming environment.

Former MPP John Gerretsen stood up for project finance in the office.

“I can remember the day we took out the first little piece of carpet, how much dust and dirt it was,” said Gerretsen.

Alan Hughes, project coordinator, said removing and replacing the carpets took an average of 45 working days per floor.

“We would decant the floor – that means all patients would be put on a swing floor – and we would close it completely and build the floor.

“So they removed the carpet and came and painted the walls and redecorated them.”

Donna Cooper, program manager for obstetrics, gynecology and genetics, said her floor has undergone a major renovation.

“(It was) completely refreshed and painted, new curtains on the windows. Before we had those long cylinder blinds that were broken, didn’t work well for the families, didn’t really block the sun or made it really dark,” she said.

“So new blinds, new paint, new floors.”

There was also a room for the families of the infants in the intensive care unit for newborns, a nursing room and a children’s area in the waiting room.

Removing the carpets appears to have improved the cleanliness of the hospital, according to Kingston General Hospital. Between 2011 and 2013, the percentage of patients who answered “good”, “very good” or “excellent” when asked how they rate the condition of their room and hospital environment increased from 71% to 81%.

Leslee Thompson, the hospital’s CEO, said removing the carpets also affected infection rates in the hospital.

“At the time (carpet removal began) we were hot on the heels of a large infection study where we said we had to get rid of these. We have one of the worst rates in the province. And now we are actually among the best.” Performing from a provincial infection control perspective, “she said.

“We haven’t had a C. difficile outbreak in two years and our practices have improved, our hygiene has improved, and many of them are so proud of the environment.”

C. difficile is an infectious bacterium that causes diarrhea. People treated with antibiotics are more prone to C. difficile.

Thompson said removing the carpeting helped employees feel proud of the environment.

“You feel like you are in a really top-notch hospital and these surroundings add to the pride and ability to keep the place clean and we know how important this is to healing and well-being,” she said.

“One of the things the staff keep saying we love is that the environment ultimately matches the quality of the staff and patient care that takes place here.”

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