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February 2017

Good hygiene is in your hands

Altro has been investigating the reliability of biocides for three years, and we’ve received the results of testing conducted by independent university researchers.

Examples of their findings:
  • People have minimal exposure to microbes on floors and walls, and their hands are a key source of contamination and spread of infection and transfer microbes on to surfaces 
  • Bacteria that grew on the surface of wall cladding, whether the surface treated with a biocide or not, was negligible 
  • Biocides need moisture to activate, and don’t do so quickly enough to prevent bacteria transfer from one surface to another
We support the use of impervious surfaces in hygienic environments to prevent microbial ingress and spread; and using a thorough cleaning regime to keep people safe and healthy.

Remember, good hygiene is in your hands.

For more information visit our biocide-free page or download our biocides whitepaper.

Visit the Altro Blog for more posts

Posted: 1/5/2017 7:17:11 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments

Aging gracefully

Recognizing the need for slip resistant floors and wayfinding for dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers

4-5 million people in the US suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Barring a medical breakthrough, Alzheimer’s patients could triple by 2050 (Alzheimer’s Association 2016 Facts and Figures).  We know that dementia affects memory but symptoms also have an impact on visual perception. Choosing surroundings that won’t exacerbate these symptoms, and play a role in alleviating them, makes a huge difference to living well with dementia. The ever-growing number of people affected means that installations should be designed with this in mind. We’ve done research to see what environments best suit those suffering from dementia. 

When developing new shades of Altro Aquarius, we conducted research and interviewed various senior living firms and designers that work on senior living projects. Our findings told us the following happen to seniors as they age:
  • Senses in general dull, making everyday walking and navigating more stressful
  • Eyesight changes: People lose peripheral vision, experience color and night vision changes, blurred vision, a 20% less color saturation and yellowing of the eyes
  • Mobility issues caused by muscle weakness and joint problems: Walking, getting in and out of chairs, etc. become difficult, and a simple walk to the living room can result in a dangerous fall
  • 15,000 Americans age 65+ die annually as a result of slips and falls
So, how do we avoid making these symptoms worse and create somewhere that feels safe when specifying appropriate flooring and wall cladding? We’ve created a full page of our senior living solutions, which you can find here. 

We’ve summarized this information so that you can see our suggestions for best practice at a glance. 
  • Use slip resistant flooring
  • Use sparkle-free flooring
  • Flooring should have no pattern, a small pattern less than 1 inch wide or a large pattern wider than 6 inches. A small pattern can make it seem like something is on the ground that needs to be picked up, resulting in a fall
  • Always choose flooring with a Pendulum Test Value (PTV) of ≥36, which offers a one in a million chance of slipping for the lifetime of the flooring.
  • In wet environments, avoid overly textured flooring that could hurt sensitive bare feet. Our Altro Aquarius is suited for both bare feet and shoes.
  • Avoid steps or the misperception of steps due to reflection or patterns in general areas that those with dementia may negotiate alone
  • Bright colors may be used to emphasize important areas of a room
  • Color is important in wayfinding
  • Use flooring and wall solutions to create a calm, welcoming, homely appearance
  • Use art and wall cladding to aid familiarity and help with wayfinding as well as make people feel welcome, offering a pleasant and enjoyable stay
  • Ensure the colors of walls, doors, floors and ceilings contrast to demark them unless trying to conceal an entrance, for example, to a service corridor or kitchen
  • Ensure the Light Reflectance Value (LRV) of walls, flooring and any other critical surfaces differs by at least 30 points
  • Consider few colors in one area to avoid creating confusing surroundings
  • Consider a hygienic, impervious system such as Altro Aquarius and Altro Whiterock for wet environments
Visit the Altro Blog for more posts

Posted: 2/2/2017 1:35:05 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments

Cross-country safety

Freedman Seating is set to embark on their 2017 Transit USA Tour, where a team of sales managers will be traveling across over 40 states in a 2017 Ford Transit Wagon dressed in the latest and greatest seating, flooring and other transportation products – emphases being safety, comfort and maintenance. The van is travelling to major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), bus dealers, operators and agencies, along with stopping at various tradeshows.

Altro Transflor Chroma was chosen to complete their van's innovative flooring, and to show off its safety features. This highly resilient and durable vinyl floor features a quality wear layer, incorporating silicon carbide and aluminum oxide grains for slip resistance, enhancing passenger safety. The middle scrim increases dimensional stability, and the floor is impervious to water penetration.

This tough, popular range performs at its best in demanding, heavy traffic areas. With multi-colored chips to enhance the broad color palette available, Altro Transflor Chroma adds a touch of style to your interiors, harmonizing with your branding.

Posted: 2/6/2017 8:01:19 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments

Yes, SIR! HAIs are declining

Data and the standardized infection ratio prove slow progress in reducing healthcare associated infections.

One in every 25 hospital patients is afflicted with a Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI).(1) 

A major, yet preventable, issue, the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) 2016 HAI progress report shows that headway has been made in infection prevention. However, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Definitive Healthcare data shows hospitals are still having difficulties and progress, while trending favorably, is slow. 

Statistics are drawn from the standardized infection ratio (SIR). At the beginning of the year, hospitals are given an estimate of the number of expected annual HAIs for each infection. The actual HAIs observed at the end of the year for those infections is then divided by the estimate to equal SIR value – a value of less than one is considered better.(2) For example, 10 counts of MRSA over an estimated 12 counts would equal 0.83 SIR. 

Data acquired by Definitive Healthcare shows some infections lowering in SIR value from 2013-2015 (the most recent data), but some with slight increases, showing us that while progress is being made with a few infections, others struggle. For more information, see Definitive Healthcare’s data here.

A 2014 report published the results of the 2011 HAI Prevalence Survey, which stated there was an estimated 722,000 HAIs in acute care hospitals, with 75,000 deaths due to HAIs. A similar publication in 2007 reported an estimated 1.7 million HAIs, with 99,000 deaths – meaning infection control methods decreased total HAIs by 42% and prevented 24,000 deaths.(3)   

According to 2013 data, the treatment of HAIs resulted in healthcare costs of $9.8 billion. Associated costs to treat a patient differ depending on the infection’s severity – bloodstream HAIs can rise to a per-patient cost of $45,000.(4)  

The one million decrease in estimated HAI afflictions not only prevented illness, extended hospital stays and death, but saved hospitals billions in healthcare costs.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “HAI Data and Statistics” (2016)
2 Definitive Healthcare “HAIs: Hospitals Struggle to Make Consistent Progress” (2016)
3 The New England Journal of Medicine “Multistate Point-Prevalence Survey of Health Care – Associated Infections” (2014)
4 FierceHealthcare “Hospital-acquired infections rack up $9.8B a year” (2013)

Nick Alexandropoulos, Marketing Communications Specalist

Visit the Altro Blog for more posts

Posted: 2/16/2017 2:19:49 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments

Hygiene sans triclosan

The removal of triclosan and other biocides from cleaning agents

Whether you’ve noticed or not, your go-to soap no longer says “anti-microbial” and “anti-bacterial” on the labels. While you won’t see anything change about your everyday body wash, the removal of such additives are a positive step forward in health and hygiene. 

Soap manufacturers have been phasing these ingredients out for some time now. To enforce the change, starting in September 2017, the federal government will enact a nationwide ban on triclosan and 18 once-beloved anti-bacterial chemicals that had been used in soaps and other cleaning agents for many years. The ban stems from Minnesota’s 2014 landmark decision to prohibit the use of triclosan and anti-microbials statewide, and was implemented January 1, 2017.    

While research began to show triclosan could disrupt hormones and bodily functions, routine use of it – and other biocides – can create more resistant bacteria.    

By removing triclosan and friends, the risk of generating stronger bacteria lessens, leading to improvements in healthcare facilities’ hygiene, and, correlatively, we have seen it factor into to the decrease of HAIs.

Nick Alexandropoulos, Marketing Communications Specalist

Visit the Altro Blog for more posts

Posted: 2/22/2017 3:05:59 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments

Keeping up with restaurant interior design trends

Appropriate atmosphere for your menu

Wine, bread and oil accompanied by $30 carne pizzaiola would look odd under bright lights with blue and white checkered tile lining the floor.  

Much like every novel tells a story and every story has its theme, every restaurant tells a story and it too has a theme. So, before even thinking about what trends to follow when creating or renovating your dining area, it’s important to know your theme. That high-end Italian food fits much better with atmospheric, dim lighting and darkened wood (or wood-look) flooring. 

With a unique theme, people are more inclined to return or tell their friends. When restaurant goers talk of the new place downtown, they’ll remember the steak tips but they’ll talk of its checkered tile, silver-lined tabletops and the 50s-era coffee posters.

So it’s not just your menu – atmosphere matters. 

Natural textures, raw materials and industrial design

Inspiration by nature isn’t new to restaurant design, but the trend continues into 2017. Using wood or wood-look flooring with other accents – such as leather, plants (real or fake) and even more wood can further promote a cozy, natural interior. 

While wallpaper can appear tacky, the right use of shades and designs can work to your advantage. However, according to Alvarez-Diaz & Villalon’s blog “8 Delicious Restaurant Design Trends that will be on the Menu in 2017,” raw materials such as exposed bricks, wood and concrete, are gaining more popularity when designing a dining room’s walls, as they can add depth and dimension to any restaurant design. Many restaurant interior designers are opting for this farmhouse industrial look as natural (or natural looking) materials become more popular and available.

LVT reigns supreme in regard to floors. With wood, fabric and stone-look designs, LVT can aid with whatever natural design you have in mind. Plus, they’re durable and sustainable – helping with the everyday thuds, preventing slips and falls and air quality. 

Light and bright versus dark and cozy

Size doesn’t matter. What does is how large or small the space seems. 

A quaint diner can look bigger than its actual size with a light color scheme and ample use of beige and ivory. WebstaurantStore’s blog “Interior Color Choices and Your Restaurant’s Message” tells us that such an arrangement promotes calmness and can encourage customers to stay longer. Great for an upscale establishment that wants to keep people around for expensive wine, dessert and coffee long after the entrees are served, but for a restaurant that survives off volume, like the neighborhood pizza shop or a busy breakfast bar, such a light scheme should be avoided.

Dark colors evoke the opposite – a large space can seem smaller and cozier. A good solution for an interior that hosts live music, shows or stand-up comedy on the weekends but not so much on the weekdays, or a hall with dining for large groups that could use an extra dash of intimacy.

Do try to avoid such a scheme in already smaller dining areas, as it can make the space appear cramped. Plus, if it’s too dark, patrons may complain about the lack of light and have difficulties reading the menu. 

However, according to The MP Shift, that “dark, heavy look from grandpa’s house” is getting old, and the industry is trending toward lighter colors. A dark theme can still be used in the appropriate environment, but take care not to over-use. 

For either design choice, your dining room’s floor can benefit from LVT.  With different textures, embosses, styles and wide ranges of colors, despite being below you, LVT can play an integral role in your atmosphere.

The FYI Network’s show Say it to My Face remodeled The Shrimp House, a seafood restaurant in Los Angeles, California, using Altro Lavencia Click LVT for such reasons. Altro Lavencia’s versatility allowed them to capture the specific design and theme the owners sought. 

The world’s best dining room interior design trend…

…is yours!

In an industry with so many current and upcoming trends, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s actually trending. You can peruse list after list with dozens of ideas but still have no idea what’s best for your restaurant.

So, to find the best design for your restaurant, take aspects from trends feasible to your establishment, check out what others have done in your neighborhood and what audience your menu caters to, and create a unique experience.

You don’t want to be yet another dim-lit, darkened-wood Italian eatery in a neighborhood full of dark, Italian eateries, so embrace those blue and white checkered tile floors – but maybe swap the $30 pizzaiola for a hamburger. 

Nick Alexandropoulos, Marketing Communications Specalist

Visit the Altro Blog for more posts

Posted: 2/22/2017 9:02:41 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments