Are We Doing Enough To Prevent Infection In Our Hospitals?

We all want to make sure that patients feel assured that they are staying in a clean environment that is not going to cause them further infection.

By simply washing your hands on a regular basis it can help reduce the potential for harmful infections spreading. By designing hospital spaces with infection control in mind, it can reduce the risk of infection and increase the likelihood of staff, patients and visitors continuing with the methods and procedures that are in place, in order to maintain a safe environment. 

Using Hospital Privacy Screens KwickScreen For Infection Control

The Homerton University Hospital, along with many other hospitals, had an issue with a lack of side rooms. In order to solve this problem, we provided the Homerton University Hospital Infection Control Department with 10 portable KwickScreens, to help resolve the issues associated with this problem.

Hospital Privacy Screens KwickScreen at Homerton in Homerton University Hospital.

Hospital Privacy Screens KwickScreen at Homerton in Homerton University Hospital.

Often during outbreaks of infection, there are insufficient side rooms for patients who are carrying infections such as MRSA or Norovirus, that could be significantly harmful to the other patients. Usually, in order to free up these rooms, more expensive or inappropriate methods are used, such as delaying discharge from a ward the patient was previously on. These methods can have a knock on effect throughout the whole hospital and cost a lot more to the NHS.

Most infectious patients do not actually need to be in a side room, rather they only require to have a physical barrier to prevent infection transmission. 

Hospital privacy screen KwickScreen provides isolation for infectious patients within wards. It provides the physical barrier needed, which reduces the spread of transmission through water droplets. It also provides a psychological trigger, which has been proven to improve hand hygiene compliance. We can also offer hygiene units for alcohol gel, gloves and gowns, making hygiene available precisely where it is needed.

Nurse is pulling out a hospital privacy screen KwickScreen to divide infected patients.

Nurse is pulling out a hospital privacy screen KwickScreen to divide infected patients.

Many patients would rather not be in a side room as it can be quite lonely when you feel like there is only you around. By using the clear hospital privacy screen KwickScreen, it also allows patients to remain visible to each other and to staff, whilst still remaining isolated. 

Furthermore, it means that those who require constant observation are more visible, in order to be checked on at a more frequent rate. 

After implementing the hospital privacy screens KwickScreen at Homerton University Hospital, the infection control lead, Vickie Longstaff told us: “The clear design we have used ensures that patients can be observed and they do not feel isolated from other people”

The benefits of separating infected areas on a ward is great for the functioning of a ward, whilst still protecting the other patients from harm. The portable room partitions are perfect for infection control as they are extremely easy to clean and offer great alternative to hospital curtains

Hospital Privacy Screens Cleaner Than Hospital Curtains

Because hospital privacy screens KwickScreen are so easy to clean, the decontamination of room partitions can happen much more frequently than hospital curtains, which can be contaminated easily and only get changed and washed every 6 months.

Hospital curtains are one of the most frequently touched surfaces in the healthcare environment. They are soft surface touch points that can often be overlooked in facility cleaning procedures. (Image source: darrelhicks.com)

Hospital curtains are one of the most frequently touched surfaces in the healthcare environment. They are soft surface touch points that can often be overlooked in facility cleaning procedures. (Image source: darrelhicks.com)

The American Journal for Infection Control found that within one week of laundering, 92 percent of hospital privacy curtains were contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria such as MRSA and VRE. 

Although the different types of surfaces do not have an effect on how well germs survive, hard surfaces are much easier to clean than soft surfaces. Soft surfaces include toys and current hospital curtains. Due to the expensive nature of cleaning curtains effectively and the manual labour of removing and hanging new curtains involved, hospital curtains are often not changed as frequently as they ought to be. 

Although there are no rules for how often hospital curtains should be changed, decontamination policies in the NHS state that ‘in community areas low risk items should be cleaned at the point of use’. 

Hospital privacy screen KwickScreen has only two visible touch-points and its smooth screen surface is easy to clean by steaming or wiping. Being less labour intensive, KwickScreen allows for a proper infection control and is an ideal alternative for infamous hospital curtains.

Hospital privacy screen KwickScreen has only two visible touch-points and its smooth screen surface is easy to clean by steaming or wiping. Being less labour intensive, KwickScreen allows for a proper infection control and is an ideal alternative for infamous hospital curtains.

These low risk items include hospital curtains, which are in constant contact with normal and intact skin. But if curtains are changed only every 6 months on average, how is it possible that this policy is being met, especially if there are many patients going in and out of the ward? Make sure your hospital is adhering to the policies by ensuring the frequent cleaning of room partitions.

The three levels of decontamination are sanitation, disinfection with the most effective being sterilization. However, although it is most effective to use disinfection and sterilization, the routine use of these is wasteful and potentially harmful. 

Therefore, it is recommended that cleaning and drying is the appropriate method to decontaminate low risk surfaces. We designed KwickScreens with cleaning in mind. Staff can simply wipe clean the hospital privacy screen KwickScreen so that it is decontaminated between patients, reducing risk of further infection spread. Unlike the current hospital curtains which cannot be wiped clean and have to be sterilized, which occurs rarely. 

Improving Your Place Assessments 

It is important to make sure that your staff and patients feel safe and that they believe they are being treated in a clean environment. By using hospital privacy screens KwickScreen you can make the first and lasting impressions right, which will provide good reviews when service users complete the PLACE assessments.

Hospital privacy screens KwickScreen at hospital ward in The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK.

Hospital privacy screens KwickScreen at hospital ward in The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK.

PLACE assessments (Patient- Led Assessments of Care Environment) are completed by service users. Anyone who uses the NHS can become a Patient Assessor, this includes current patients, their family and visitors, carers, patient advocates or patient council members. Since these assessments are completed by the public, it is important to ensure that these service users get the right experience, making your ward’s PLACE assessment even better. 

The PLACE assessments look at cleanliness, condition of building inside and out, fixtures, fittings and décor, signage and external facilities, food and drink and patient privacy and dignity. 

So How Can Hospital Privacy Screen KwickScreen Help?

1. Cleanliness

Because hospital privacy screens KwickScreen can easily be wiped clean after every use, it means that not only do they look clean, but they are clean. 

It will provide patient ambassadors with the assurance that the ward they are inspecting are practicing good infection control. As more people become aware of hospital-related infections and complications, like sepsis, it is vital to assure people they are in a clean and safe environment. One look at a KwickScreen can give the assurance they need that the ward is taking all the infection control measures that will prevent them and their loved ones from contracting Sepsis, MRSA or Norovirus.

2. Condition of building inside and out, fixtures, fittings and décor

Hospital privacy screens KwickScreen are retractable so the quality of the fitting will be maintained longer because the screen can be kept securely in its own casing when not in use, making sure that the condition of the inside of the hospital ward is to a high quality. 

KwickScreens are printable so can improve the overall décor of a ward. Carefully chosen designs can help improve patient experience as well as improving the conditions of your décor in order to gain a better PLACE assessment. 

3. Patient privacy and dignity

KwickScreens are designed in order to provide patient privacy and dignity. The medical privacy screens do not move about unintentionally causing potential privacy issues. 

It is important that the environment experienced is good for the service user, which will improve their overall experience and will improve your PLACE assessments. 

Summary

If you’re worried about the cleanliness of your wards curtains, and want to make your PLACE assessments better, hospital privacy screen KwickScreen is the perfect solution to your infection control needs. Its wipe-clean nature makes it easy for anyone to quickly clean it between patients and hand-gel units are available to improve infection control even more. By using KwickScreen you can free up valuable space inside rooms, whilst still maintaining the safety of the other patients in your care. 

For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.