Cleanliness in healthcare facilities is of utmost importance. Each year approximately 1.7 million Americans will develop an infection while in the hospital, and 99,000 of those infected will die. In 2017, almost 20,000 perished from staph infections alone.
In today’s COVID-19 environment, controlling the spread of hospital-related contagions is more essential than ever.
COVID-19 and Surfaces
By March 2020, the American public was inundated with information on the consequences of not practicing personal hygiene – like handwashing – and surface sanitation. While there are many unknowns surrounding the COVID-19 virus, it is clear the infection spreads quickly and easily.
Compounding the contamination threat is the ability of COVID-19 to survive on surfaces for an extended period. Although each virus is unique, generally, a flu virus will not survive long on a surface. However, as researchers learn more about COVID-19, it appears the microbe may live on certain types of surfaces for days, and – while that is daunting – it can be mitigated.
From the Top Down
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published guidelines for residential surface sanitary practices, which should be followed to reduce the risk of spread. The CDC also has made recommendations on cleaning and disinfecting environmental surfaces for hospitals and healthcare facilities.
When discussing the disinfection of hospital surfaces, it is natural to think about bed rails, nurse’s stations, and desktops. However, the ability to keep ceilings germ-free also is critical in stopping the spread of infection.
Ceiling tiles, like CertainTeed’s Symphony™ m Rx and Symphony™ f Rx series, that are made of smooth, durable materials provide superior scrubbability when used with most sanitizing chemicals because smooth surfaces leave less area for microbes to hide.
The ability to withstand multiple harsh cleanings is also essential. Ceiling tiles should meet the International Organization for Standards (ISO) Class 3 clean room standards. Clean rooms are designed to maintain low levels of airborne organisms or vaporized particles in hospitals as well as certain types of manufacturing facilities.
Additionally, Symphony® ceiling tiles satisfy the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) guidelines for sanitary applications.
Silence is Golden
While sanitary environments help to reduce the risk of hospital patients contracting illness or infection, stress-free surroundings may also lead to a quicker recovery.
Many studies, including one published by the Journal of Patient Experience, find that quiet spaces aid in healing. While background noise cannot always be avoided, the use of acoustical ceilings can significantly reduce sound transmission.
People recovering in a hospital are already under stress, even more so in the case of those recovering from COVID-19, as family members cannot be there to comfort them.
Privacy is so valuable that the U.S. Constitution protects it with the Third Amendment. When it comes to healthcare, the need for confidentiality was so important the federal government passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996 to protect individuals’ health information.
However, discretion can be difficult in emergency rooms and hospital wards, especially as they overflow with COVID-19 patients. CertainTeed’s Symphony® collection offers a variety of options that are suitable for clean room usage and provide speech dampening, helping to protect the privacy of patients.
Peace of Mind
With few exceptions, being hospitalized is a frightening and stressful situation. As a result, ceilings are, understandably, not top-of-mind when entering a hospital.
However, patients, family members, and healthcare workers can find peace of mind knowing that facility managers have put in place measures to ensure a sanitary, quiet, and private environment. Choosing the right ceiling panels is one valuable way to make the recovery process a little easier for everyone.