Ways to Improve Infection Prevention

by Christa Barr | CHID, EDAC, IIDA, NCIDQ | Project Manager, Senior Designer

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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