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AIR FILTERS AND AIR QUALITY IN HOSPITALS

The improvement of air quality in health-care settings is a vital constituent of modern airborne hygiene procedures. It is also of importance with regard to occupational health & safety requirements in medical institutions. Improved air quality not only helps to provide a healthier and more pleasant environment for patients, staff and visitors, but also makes economic sense due to its relevance as a preventative infection control measure.


Costs for health care have escalated in recent years. The pressures forcing such increases include growing demand for health care, rising costs of medical technology, malpractice liability and shortages of’ health care professionals. Health care institutions are forced to increase efficiency and contain costs. 


Maintenance and operation of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (hvac) systems is one area that can suffer budget cuts without noticeably impacting directly on patient care.  One of the obvious ways to control costs is to defer spending on “low visibility” budget items that seemingly have no direct impact on patients. Such cuts often are directed at the budgets for routine servicing of hvac systems, causing air quality to suffer as a result.


Air quality in many hospitals has deteriorated to a point that airborne transmission of infectious disease has become a significant problem. Given the fact that many infections are transmitted via the airborne route, such as tuberculosis (TB) and Legionnaire’s disease, adequate ventilation becomes more critical than ever. Newly discovered strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria make infection control one of the top priorities for health care providers. The ever-increasing numbers of orthopaedic replacement procedures and organ transplants make air quality in sterile operating rooms, isolation rooms, and general patient rooms a critical issue in patient care.


In addition, if air quality is poor health care providers can be exposed to toxic and hazardous gases and particulates.  Nursing staff who routinely administer antibiotics can themselves develop resistant strains of microbes that can hinder treatment if they acquire infections. Health care workers involved in administering chemotherapeutic drugs can be accidentally exposed to toxic levels of the drug if air filtration is inadequate.


Air filtration should be at the forefront in dealing with indoor air quality in hospitals. Because the vast majority of microbes are associated with particles, air filtration becomes an attractive solution to preventing spread of infection.  Jasun Filtration manufactures all levels of Air Filter from the most basic panel filters through to absolute and HEPA filters, thogther with nationwide site services of fitting, validating and disposal.


The air quality requirements in health-care settings vary from department to department and often even from room to room. Some areas require high-efficiency filtration of airborne micro organisms to protect patients, staff and visitors (e.g. in operation suites, ICUs, TB isolation rooms), whereas other areas require the filtration of gaseous contaminants, chemicals and odours to provide a safer and more pleasant working environment (e.g. in laboratories, autopsy rooms, dental surgeries and pharmacies).  It is, therefore, essential that only very high quality filters are installed into these environments.


The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency have specified a national framework for the supply and fitting of air filters.  These include using suppliers that are able to provide an assessment of the environmental impact of its filters and how this will be managed.  Filtration companies should, like Jasun Filtration, have EN14001 accreditation, which enables them to assess the life of the product including recycling and disposal.  The NHS also insists that when fitting filters strict procedures should be adhered to, which can only be carried out by company’s working with the new BS EN ISO 9001:2008 accreditation.


It is also vital that when fitting filters, companies make an assessment of their condition and report this to the authorities.  It is therefore imperative that NHS Authorities only use companies who have their own highly trained fitters who are able to provide this level of “consultation”. 


Last but not least, it is important that any filtration company used by the NHS maintains a high level of R&D so that their products are able to take advantage of innovations in new materials and structures.  Such R&D also involves continuous product testing and improvement.
Air filtration can play an important role in protecting staff and patients from airborne contaminants.  The inescapable conclusion is that air filtration, coupled with air balancing and proper system hygiene, are the best means of reducing and controlling hospital-acquired infections, both from an efficiency standpoint and from a cost perspective
04 September 2009


Click here to find out more about: Jasun Envirocare Plc
N.B. The information contained in this entry is provided by the above supplier, and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher
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