After making it through a pandemic, more people realize how vital infection prevention is to all our public environments. This is not a new concept for those in the healthcare field since 5% of all hospital admissions result in a healthcare-associated infection (HAI), or approximately 722,000 infections and 75,000 deaths (NCDHHS).
So, what are three ways an organization can improve on infection prevention?
- Focus on using materials that are non-porous with minimal seams and transitions. Moisture can collect in joints and allows bacteria to grow. For example, if you are selecting a restroom wall finish and are using a porcelain tile it would be best to choose a tile that is a larger format or slab (gauge size) to reduce the number of grout lines or seams. Also, using appropriate transitions between the wall and floor like a Schluter strip will make cleaning easier.
- Finishes that are stain and water-resistant are also key. When a material absorbs a stain or water then it can become a host to bacteria and be difficult to clean or disinfect. If you’ve ever spilled a drink on a chair cushion you know how tough it is to completely remove all the stain and moisture.
- Surfaces that are highly durable will also help you avoid infections. If you can prevent scratches or grooves on a surface, you are also preventing another location where moisture can pool and grow bacteria. It is also very difficult to clean and disinfect inside a very small scratch. If you have a choice between a natural stone or a solid surface face on a reception desk the solid surface will be more resilient to any bumps and continue looking great for a long time.
Having a beautiful and clean space for years to come is always a goal for any project.