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News archive - July 2014
Washroom design steered by hygiene concerns
When designing washrooms for hospitals, with the ever-present threat of MRSA and E.Coli it is vital to consider how they can be kept as hygienic as possible.
Trevor Bowers, director at Washroom Washroom, told hdm that, with appropriate design and good choice of materials, the risks can be minimised.
He said: “A clean, well-maintained washroom space can, in turn, help to promote healthy, hygienic habits among users, further minimising the spread of germs. Careful choice of materials is another key way of ensuring hygiene standards can be easily maintained throughout facilities.”
Specifying Solid Grade Laminate (SGL) for cubicle doors, integrated duct panelling, vanity units, lockers and bedhead units, is not only a durable solution, but also provides a hygienic, easy-to-clean surface, making it ideal for the healthcare sector, he added.
Reducing the need for end users to touch surfaces by installing infrared sensors on flushes and taps is another key way in which the spread of germs can be reduced within a hospital environment, helping to improve the overall cleanliness of washrooms.
In any washroom there will always be the need for ongoing maintenance, whether planned or reactive, so ensuring this can be carried out with minimal disruption is essential. The use of a specially-designed integrated duct panelling system, which also creates an attractive finish, is ideal for use in hospitals as it provides a hygienic surface and allows ease of access for maintenance and repairs.
The healthcare sector also presents the challenge of needing to cater for users with different needs and varying access issues, while also incorporating regulations outlined in Document M, which focuses on a building’s accessibility for disabled users. There is a fine balance to be achieved as, while all cubicles need to ensure patients’ privacy, at the same time they should allow for access in case of accident, injury or sudden illness.
Colour is also increasingly important in design for the healthcare sector, with colour being used to create an environment in which patients feel comfortable. This was a key feature of the North Middlesex University Hospital project, where Washroom Washroom installed durable SGL bedhead units in a range of colours including purple, green and red, to co-ordinate with other fixtures and fittings. Each floor was designed in a different shade, creating a truly-customised design, while also helping patients navigate around the hospital.
“Taking time to consider the needs of end users at the outset, and tailoring washroom design to meet their needs with practical solutions, is the best way to ensure washrooms remain hygienically clean and well maintained - vital within the healthcare sector,” said Bowers.
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