I am always unsure how to answer the loaded questions from clients. You can see them aiming and then they fire. “What are your thoughts on carpet in skilled nursing resident rooms?” They either hate carpet or love it. There is no middle ground in this subject. You would think we were discussing if there is a God or who you voted for in the last presidential election.

The solid surface flooring can be anything from VCT to sheet vinyl or wood vinyl planks. The argument goes that it can be cleaned easier than carpet, and it will therefore reduce bacterial growth and smells, as well as it is easier to move. The negatives are that it feels less homey and warm. If there is a spill, while it is easy to clean it up, there is also a high risk of a fall from the spill. Finally, it is noisy.

The arguments for carpet are that it is more residential, reduces noise, is less costly to maintain when life cycle costing is done, and if a resident falls, it will be a “softer fall”. If a moisture barrier backing is used and the carpet is direct glued to the concrete, spills and therefore smells can be extracted and will not continue to wick up. Most importantly, as hospitals have found, germs don’t jump and noise reduction is greatly helpful in the healing process.

So what’s the right answer? You decide. I know what I would want if I was the resident.