York & North Yorkshire

New hospital flooring material may reduce fall injuries

Harrogate District Hospital
Image caption Parts of Harrogate hospital have been fitted with shock-absorbent flooring as part of a 12-month study

Two hospitals in North Yorkshire are testing a new type of "shock absorber" flooring which aims to reduce injuries from falls among elderly patients.

Parts of Harrogate and York district hospitals have been fitted with thicker flooring as part of the 12-month study.

The project is known as HIP-HOP - or Helping Injury Prevention in Hospitalised Older People.

The new flooring has a top layer made of vinyl and is thicker than normal floors as it has a memory-foam backing.

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth will compare the new flooring with normal flooring to see if there is any indication it may be helping to reduce injuries from falls in older people.

Amy Drahota, from the university's school of health science and social work, said: "Older people are especially vulnerable to falls because they are more unsteady on their feet and this can be worse when they are unwell in hospital and walking in unfamiliar surroundings.

"If they do have a fall then shock absorbent flooring may help reduce the severity of their injuries and result in a swifter recovery and briefer stay in hospital."

Senior nurse Debrah Bates said: "It is great to be involved in this study which has the potential to not only improve care for our patients, but may influence management of falls nationally."

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