Injury-Prevention Safety Flooring User Experience Study
In laboratory settings, safety flooring reduces the impacts of falls without affecting balance and mobility. This project tests safety flooring in 5 retirement suites to see how it works in real-life. The study will learn about the usability, practicality, injury-prevention potential, and unanticipated challenges of safety floors from various people that interact with the flooring in different ways. The feedback will serve as an essential framework for spreading this innovation.
Falls are the leading cause of injury related deaths amongst elderly Canadians. Several fall prevention models aimed at reducing falls have been tested in care facilities, however research has indicated these facilities should supplement an injury prevention model aimed at reducing injury severity in the event of a fall.
Fall injury risk is directly related to the impact forces experienced on the body. Safety flooring reduces the ground surface stiffness, absorbs impact energy, decreases impact forces during a fall and can be an effective injury prevention model to reduce fall related injury severity. Additionally, our recent work at the RIA comparing safety flooring and standard flooring shows safety floors do not affect balance and mobility.
While laboratory studies have shown positive outcomes of safety flooring regarding force attenuation without influencing balance or mobility measures, these controlled environments do not measure long-term factors such as: comfort, convenience, practicality, or challenges. This project requires relevant stakeholders to complete a brief 2-page survey regarding their experiences and interactions with the safety flooring. The broad group of stakeholders includes residents, visitors, care staff, cleaning/maintenance staff, rehabilitation staff, facility designers, managerial staff, non-Schlegel Village staff at the facility (e.g. Research Institute for Aging team members).
Andrew Laing, PhD
- Mayank Kalra, University of Waterloo
Funding by Mitacs
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