Patient room at Nicklaus Children's Hospital's Fetal Care Center in Miami

Contributed by Mats Inc.

Nicklaus Children's Hospital's Fetal Care Center in Miami, opened the doors to its special delivery unit for high-risk infants on Monday, June 3, 2019. This specialized birthing unit is one of only a few in the entire United State that serves healthy mothers expecting to deliver babies with severe pre-diagnosed health issues. The new unit allows families to stay together from birth through the infant's care.

The hospital hired NBBJ architects in Columbus, Ohio, to design the 10-bed maternity unit project. Designers Liz Loxterkamp, Alison Rock and Edwin Beltran faced several challenges while devising a plan that would meet the requirements for the renovated space. Sustainability was important, but the top priority was to select materials that would not further compromise the health of the newly born infants. The design team focused on choosing materials that comply with the highest standards for healthcare, such as low and no VOC (volatile organic compound) products.

One of the first challenges the team faced was creating an adult environment amid a facility solely devoted to children, while also maintaining the Nicklaus brand aesthetic. To solve this challenge, they took a cue from the residential neighborhood at the edge of the Coral Gables community. The designers also took inspiration from spa environments and developed a theme that would create a calm and soothing ambience.

Flooring was only a small percentage of the hospital's construction budget, but it became the central design element because it would greatly influence the outcome. The team agreed that they would choose a wood look to fit the warm and inviting aesthetic they were seeking. Deciding on the type of floor covering would become their next obstacle.

Rock brought wineo PURline flooring to the stakeholders for consideration. She learned about the bio-polyurethane product from Mats Inc. several weeks prior, and as an easy-to-clean floor covering with a wide range of authentic-looking wood tones, it might have been the perfect choice.

While stakeholders admired the look of PURline, and that it had no VOCs, the environmental services (EVS) team expressed concern about cleanability of the unfamiliar flooring. EVS had experience maintaining rubber flooring and sheet vinyl that was installed in other areas of the hospital and urged the designers to select one of those products instead. The design team proposed a test installation of 8-foot sections of each of the three flooring types in the well-traveled maintenance corridors. After two months of use and standard maintenance, PURline outperformed the other materials. The test convinced the EVS crew that it was the best choice.

All stakeholders were pleased with the installation of wineo PURline Pacific Oak throughout the specialized delivery unit, which included five labor and delivery rooms, five antepartum rooms and two operating rooms. In addition to ease of maintenance that doesn't require stripping, waxing, or harsh chemicals, low VOCs and achieving the spa-like aesthetic, PURline is truly sustainable and conforms to Health Care Without Harm's Healthy Flooring criteria.