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hdm magazine digital edition - September 2018

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News archive - July 2018

Tackling the invisible

Tackling the invisible

With constant foot traffic within facilities, healthcare managers must give careful thought as to how they can minimise the risk of an infection spreading.

Around 80% of infections are transmitted through the environment, whether that’s in the air we breathe, or the surfaces we touch.

And, unsuprisingly, door hardware, whether that be the handles or the door itself, is one of the most-common harbourers of harmful bacteria.

Touched hundreds of times a day by staff, visitors and patients alike - and encouraged by warm surroundings - bacteria can thrive on door handles, grabrails and other key contact surfaces.

While washing hands or using hand sanitiser helps this problem to some extent; it’s not enough to keep the spread of harmful bacteria under complete control.

Micro-organisms are known to survive on surfaces like handles for extended periods of time.

And this can be especially worrying in hospital environments where some patients have compromised immunity.

Eliminating risk

Anti-microbial door hardware ultimately tackles this problem at the source, helping to eliminate the issue at the point where it’s most likely to snowball.

The introduction of door hardware with inbuilt anti-bacterial protection such as exit devices, door handles, and sanitary fittings is helping the healthcare sector in the battle against the spreading of germs and bugs.

So how do these incredibly-convenient solutions work?

Nutrients made available in the environment provide bacteria the materials need to form new protoplasm, helping them to multiply.

Anti-microbial door hardware solutions use an anti-microbial coating to prevent this multiplication.

This includes products made using ionic silver (AG+), a coating specially formulated to inhibit the growth of bacteria by interrupting cell multiplication.

The ionic silver coatings interact with the bonding sites on the microbe surface, the result being that the silver ions surround bacterial cells, blocking food and slowing the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew.

Alternatively, for nylon products, antibacterial protection is either incorporated into the scratch-resistant powder coating or impregnated into the polymer structure of the nylon during manufacture, meaning it cannot be wiped or washed off and it remains active for the lifetime of the product.

Special requirements

It’s clear that healthcare providers have special requirements when creating safe and secure environments for the people that visit or work in their facilities.

And fitting door hardware with anti-microbial protection can optimise a safer and cleaner environment by inhibiting the growth of bacteria on high-touch surface areas.

When antibacterial technology is combined with conventional cleaning methods; it helps to improve standards of hygiene and offers added protection.

While hospitals put particular emphasis on maintaining a clean environment via hand sanitisers and routine cleaning; it can be difficult to keep track of the places susceptible to high levels of bacteria build up.

What’s more, when it’s something you can’t physically see, it can often be mistaken as not being there.

Ultimately, a cleaner and healthier facility is likely to provide added benefits of improved patient outcomes, patient satisfaction, and even staff satisfaction and productivity.

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