Hospitals take extra measures and follow strict protocol to control infections. This includes repetitive cleaning using various detergents and disinfectants. However, the risk of acquiring infections can never be eliminated completely, thus patients with low immunity are at higher risk to get Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs).
Low-immunity patients can catch infections more easily from hospital surroundings. The hospital environment is not only confined to the air they breathe in, the beds they rest but also the operation theatres where critical surgeries are being performed, ICUs, CCUs, NICUs where critical patients are being given care, isolation rooms for transplant patients, pathology labs etc. All these units, OTs, rooms, labs etc. have different surfaces being exposed to the patients and healthcare workers such as walls, doors, door knobs, inanimate objects, flooring, furniture, and even HVAC ducts can disseminate pathogens, becoming major sources to spread diseases/infections.
In this article, different attributes will be discussed to create awareness on how these infrastructure surfaces are harming the patients.
Antimicrobial Wall Paints:
Hospital walls are cleaned every day to reduce the microbial load, but the cleaning process is intensively time taking as the most used walls are cleaned multiple time a day, thus adding the extra cost of detergents and disinfectants. The use of harsh disinfectants makes walls surface porous making them more available to the microbes’ growth. Moreover, patient rooms or waiting areas needed to be consequently repainted as much as four times a year which is very costly.
Protector® Antimicrobial Wall Paints with built-in Antimicrobial properties can help us resolve all these problems. The antimicrobial paint prevents Bacteria, Yeast, Fungi, Mould, and Viruses to grow in the porous spaces of the walls and provide us with maximum protection. This technology conforms to ISO 22196, and ASTM E 2180 for its antimicrobial performance.
Antimicrobial Seamless Flooring:
Similarly, in the past, floors in healthcare facilities were considered as non-critical surfaces. Non-critical surfaces are those that are not frequently touched by the hands of a patient or staff. They were assumed as low risk to no risk towards spreading Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs). The non-critical surfaces are tagged as the potential secondary source of pathogenic transmission. Research conducted indicates floors play a major part in the dissemination of virulent microorganisms and should not be docketed as non-critical.
Conventional sterilization techniques such as fumigation, fogging or use of U.V radiation require 6-8 hours duration for proper sterilization, consuming 1/3rd of the day. For critical units consumption of this much time is extremely risky and the sterilization cannot be carried out frequently. Moreover, these disinfectants and sterilants serious health hazard if leaked out. While improper sterilization leads to increase the prevalence of HAIs and patients already admitted in intensive care units (ICUs) are at particular menace for infection risks.
The spread of infections and diseases can control by introducing antimicrobial technology in health-care setups. Protector® Antimicrobial Flooring is seamless and provides maximum protection against a wide range of microorganisms. The built-in Antimicrobial properties prevent the microbial build-up and kill when microorganisms come in contact with the floor.
Antimicrobial Surface Coatings:
Surface contamination is one of the reasons for infection spread. Contamination of inanimate objects such as doors, door knobs, and types of furniture such as tables & stools are identified as major outbreaks in critical areas such as ICUs and OTs. Door knobs, for instance, are reported as the most frequently touched surface and has to be cleaned and disinfected multiple times a day.
It has been reported from different sources that both Gram-positive and Gram-negative virulent species can survive and grow on these surfaces up to many months even at a lower temperature if the appropriate humidity level is available.
Despite following proper hand hygiene protocols, healthcare hands also act as a vector for the nosocomial infection spread. Healthcare workers might contaminate their hands from the inanimate objects (e.g., ground, bedrails, emergency carts, and trolleys) or other high touch equipment and then spread the infection to other patients or distribute themselves. Inanimate surfaces are continuously contaminated directly by patients as they continuously shed the bacteria or indirectly due to high-frequency interactions between health workers’ hands and high-touch surfaces.
Antimicrobial HVAC Ducts:
Airborne diseases are also one of the most common HAIs such as pneumonia. As everyone breathes in the same air in the hospital environment. Airborne respiratory pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis released by the infected patients through coughing or sneezing are later inhaled by the patients and co-workers. This air-borne are dispersed in the hospital environment to the others through air currents where ventilation system play a major part. The particles and microorganisms when remain suspended in the air find ways to infect the susceptible host.
The hospital air is controlled by the primary mechanism such as through Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Efforts have been made to reduce the surgical site infections by providing sterile air and minimize the airflow to the surgical site that brings pathogens along. However, the procedure involving the control of hospital air is very complex, since HVAC can densely be polluted by microorganisms and the same air is then released into the environment.
The solution to above problem can be addressed by introducing Protector® Coated Antimicrobial HVAC Ducts. The HVAC ducts with antimicrobial coating will kill the smallest of microorganisms on contact and minimize the airborne spread of the microorganisms. Thus cleaner air can be provided to the hospital environment especially to the surgical sites.
Antimicrobial Water Distribution Pipes:
Hospital water safety is a major concern for most hospitals. Hospital administration & healthcare epidemiologists face constant challenge to priorities the water safety. Waterborne infections can significantly increase the morbidity and mortality rate. The upsurge mortality rate at hospitals will eventually erode public confidence in healthcare facilities. Waterborne pathogens such as Legionella and nontuberculous mycobacteria have the ability to colonize the deep infrastructure and the outlets of hospital water distribution systems. Most Gram-negative species and molds tend to form biofilms in water pipes, which adheres to the surface of pipes and later is being carried by water.
Hospital water supply can get contaminated through both the proximal (central pipes) and distal (points of use). Even hospitals tap and municipal water supply are not expected to be pathogen free. The municipal water undergoes routine microbiological scrutiny to ensure safe levels of important community pathogens such as coliform bacteria. Contaminated municipal water may lead to can outbreaks that can severely affect immunocompromised patients in healthcare set-ups. Mostly the contamination occurs in the hospital’s own infrastructure, therefore the microorganisms that don’t cause any harm to the healthy person, may infect and cause diseases to the hospitalized immunocompromised patients.
Waterborne pathogenic transmission in the hospital can be controlled by introducing Protector® Antimicrobial Water Pipes. The antimicrobial HDPE, PVC, and PPRC will prevent the biofilm formation inside the pipes and kill the microorganisms upon contact to pipe’s surface providing safe and healthy water to the hospitals.
In short, Protector® provides a complete antimicrobial building infrastructure and fixtures for the hospitals. The Protector® range includes antimicrobial wall paints and surface coatings, seamless flooring, doors, door knobs, water pipes, and HVAC ducts. The complete range will give extra protection to the hospital by lowering the Health Acquired Infections (HAIs) prevalence. The Protector® Antimicrobial Range conforms to ISO 22196 and ASTM E 2180 for Antimicrobial performance. The antimicrobial properties have 99.99% efficacy against microbial buildup and act as an important preventive measure for infection control and preventions in hospitals.