Many hospitals and clinics are replacing all patient curtains with hygienic folding screens to prevent the spread of microorganisms.
To prevent the spread of infections it is important that all equipment, materials and fittings have smooth, flat surfaces that are easy to clean and disinfect. Curtain screens between patients have shown to be a source of harboring antibiotic-resistant bacteria, in comparison to hygienic folding screens that could inhibit the growth and spread of micro- organisms thanks to its smooth surfaces that easily could be wiped down. This gives the product a key advantage in the fight against hospital infections.
SCREENS ELIMINATE BIG RISK FACTOR
In 2015, Nykøbing F. Sygehus was the first hospital in Denmark to replace patient curtains with folding screens in every department as a strategic part of efforts to combat hospital infections.
“We raised the level of hygiene by introducing folding screens. We have eliminated a large risk factor throughout the hospital. We had seen a succession of hospital acquired infections, and we know that patient curtains are a key source of infection. It’s impractical to change the curtains after each patient, so we chose to get rid of them,” says hygiene nurse Naja Troelsen, who played a key role in the changeover, with full backing of the hospital management.
BEST SOLUTION – HYGIENICALLY AND FINANCIALLY
At Kalmar County Hospital in Sweden the management decided to equip the hospital with hygienic Silentia folding screens in a single sweep, as this was the most hygienic and cost-effective solution. The decision was taken after it was pointed out that fabric curtains are not suitable for maintaining hospital hygiene and another solution was recommended.
“It’s unusual to decide to replace all the existing curtains at once, but if we want good, effective care, we have to raise the level and choose a complete solution. The partnership with Silentia worked out very well. I think everyone is very happy with Silentia’s folding screens as they are easier and more flexible than the curtains we had before,” says Eva Ståhle, hospital strategist at Kalmar County Hospital.
EASIER TO BREAK INFECTION PATH
In 2014, Glostrup Hospital installed more than 100 new folding screens in 11 wards, and almost all wards and departments now have hygienic screens. The change to hygienic patient screens was promoted by bacterial studies on fabric and plastic curtains.
“Instead of waiting for the departments to purchase the screens, I chose to do it as one hospital-wide project. The switch has given a huge boost to hygiene. The new folding screens are included in our hygiene routines and it is easier for us to break the infection path and prevent infections because the surfaces are so much easier to clean,” says Anita Heidelbach, who manages 50 hospital staff.
HYGIENE IS A STRATEGIC CHOICE
Investment in hygienic patient screening has to be weighed against the many disadvantages and high costs of frequently washing and replacing patient curtains. Folding screens are the most effective long-term solution, financially and hygienically.
CURTAIN WASHING AND HAND HYGIENE DO NOT HALT BACTERIA
Research shows that curtains between patients are quickly contaminated with infectious bacteria. In 2011, researchers from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine studied the spread of bacterial contamination on curtains*. They tested 43 curtains twice a week for three weeks. The curtains were shared between 30 different medical and surgical wards. The results showed that 26% of the curtains had antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and 44% had Enterococcus bacteria, some of which were resistant to antibiotics.
Although curtains are washed regularly it barely helps. The researchers tested 13 new curtains in a hospital, and within a week 12 had bacterial contamination. Improved hand hygiene does not solve the problem; more hygienic screening is required, according to the researchers.
STRATEGIC INFECTION CONTROL
• Put hygiene on the agenda at management level.
• Create an overall plan/budget for introducing folding screens.
• Always get professional advice and a visual demonstration.
• Set requirements for folding screen quality, security and flexibility.
SILENTIA PATIENT SCREENS: DESIGNED FOR TOP HYGIENE
• The smooth, hard surfaces are easy to clean.
• The materials can withstand disinfectants.
• The hinges are designed to prevent collection of dirt and bacteria.
• The screen can be folded in/out with only one point of contact.
• Wheels can easily be removed and washed in water or disinfection equipment.