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Prepared For The Challenges of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the operational standards for all sectors of the economy. Infection control has always been a concern, particularly for Healthcare and Wellbeing Environments but now, every industry faces the need to ensure a “Covid-safe” workplace.

Traditionally, infection control is achieved through the use of antimicrobial materials with bactericide and fungicide properties that prevent these microorganisms to proliferate and create colonies on the treated surfaces.

Viruses present a different challenge as they do not proliferate by themselves on inert surfaces. Instead, viruses rest on surfaces waiting for a new host to inadvertently touch them and put them in contact with any mucosa where they will infect the host and use his cells to replicate and to thrive.

For this reason, besides the regular antimicrobial protection, the best way to defend against the new COVID-19 threat is to regularly clean all exposed surfaces with disinfectant products.

The Well-Being Sector

Healthcare and Well-being facilities are two very particular environments where noise problems have the potential to become major determinants of service quality. In this blog we review the need for acoustical treatment in Healthcare and Well-being environments and explore the particular demands of hospital settings. Artnovion has develop an antimicrobial and sterilisable product line specifically designed to meet the high standards of infection control and face the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Well-being spaces offer restful and peaceful environments in order to make customer experience more pleasant and enjoyable. Acoustic quality in this kind of space is a base requirement. However, due to the often highly humid environments, this kind of facility has particular characteristics and requirements that demand for more specific solutions. While some areas (atriums, waiting rooms or corridors) will require only standard acoustic treatment solutions, other spaces (like changing rooms, locker rooms, gyms, pools, jacuzzi, saunas or massage rooms) will greatly benefit from acoustic treatment solutions that also offer additional features such as odour control, mould control and have cleanable or antimicrobial surfaces. It’s all about treating noise in a healthy way.

Healthcare Facilities - Troy Medline

When it comes to healthcare facilities, the stakes are much higher. Acoustic levels in hospitals are very high and have been growing significantly since 1960. On average, daytime noise levels have risen 0,38 dB and nighttime levels have risen 0,42 dB each year. (I. Busch-Vishniac, 2005) The sources of noise are multifold and are both internal and external. Internal noise coming from bedside life support systems, infusion pumps, incubators, multiple monitors and alarms adds to the external noise from cooling systems, emergency generators, often construction or renovation works, along with constant ambulance sirens or nearby public transport.(Aurélio & Tochetto, 2010)

Acoustical treatment in healthcare facilities needs to take in to account particular concerns related to infection control. The incidence of Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs), also known as nosocomial infections has been growing exponentially since 1980 due to the emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria microorganisms. (A. C. Abreu, 2013) These are infections that occur in patients in a hospital or healthcare facility which were not present at the time of admission, including infections that are acquired in the hospital but are diagnosed only after discharge. Patients and patient care teams carry pathogens on their hands resulting from direct contact with other infected patients or colonized surfaces. Once patients or surfaces become contaminated, they act as a reservoir for infectious bacteria. (Collins, April 2008) Environmental contamination can persist for many days and months with several pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), norovirus and Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). (Sehmi, 2016)

Besides regular scheduled cleaning and disinfection of hospital equipment and surfaces, (including alternative methods that go beyond basic cleaning), many other strategies have been adopted for controlling nosocomial infections. (Sehmi, 2016) A promising component of these strategies is the use of antimicrobial surfaces that prevent microorganism adhesion and can reduce microbial burden without staff having to spend hours manually cleaning surfaces. (Kristopher Page, 2009) There are several options available to give antimicrobial properties to hospital surfaces. One of the most effective methods consists in using metal ions (Copper or Silver) which have the well-documented ability to break down bacterial cell walls, resulting in microbicidal and sporicidal activity. (Otter, 2014) These ions can be embedded in surface coatings that convey both antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Bacteria are also responsible for the producing scent molecules that cause unpleasant odors, so another significant result of the bactericide action of these coatings is an anti-odor effect. (Chakraborty, 2015) A treated surface or coatings will have lasting anti-odor properties. The metal ions can also be incorporated into textiles, conveying to fabrics the same antimicrobial properties. (Diana Santos Morais, 2016) Studies have demonstrated that Silver and copper ions remain bonded to the fabric fibers in a durable way that can resists multiple washings. (Oguz Demiryurek, 2019)

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