On this blog, we’ve talked about how carpet can be used as ateaching tool, and even as a way to detect when an elderlyor injured person is likely to fall. It seems carpet is being used more and more as an information-gathering device.
In a post titled Healthcare Flooring as a Rehabilitation Tool on her “Zooming In” blog, Sarah Norville Peinhardt, an interior designer with the architectural firm Gresham Smith and Partners, shows how flooring in some hospitals is being used by physical therapists to measure patients’ gait speeds.
Therapists typically conduct gait training and walking recovery by assessing the patient’s gait quality, the distance walked and the amount of assistance needed. At HealthSouth, the flooring itself provides the distance markers needed for gait training. Each hallway features a specific repeated pattern that’s measured out in meters and matches up with the distances marked in most standard gait tests. Therapists don’t need a special area for the test; the corridor serves that function. Oftentimes, patients are not even aware their gait is being assessed, allowing for therapists to observe patients’ progress in more natural conditions.