German hospital installs copper touch surfaces

Published: 31-Oct-2012

As part of a multi-dimensional approach to hygiene

As part of its general refurbishment measures, Hagen General Hospital (AKH Hagen) in Germany has equipped its children’s intensive care ward with antimicrobial copper touch surfaces to help lower the risk of healthcare-associated infections. The decision to do this was taken as part of the hospital’s multi-dimensional approach to hygiene.

Reinhard Tennert, director of AKH, said: “It is important for us to get ahead with investing in supplementary hygiene measures, and therefore to be able to offer our youngest patients the best possible protection against infections carried by germs.

“Cases of illness resulting from a lack of hygiene are unethical, extremely expensive due to treatment costs of up to €250,000 per case of treatment, and furthermore have a negative effect on the image of the whole organisation.”

In addition to 60 beds in the children’s clinic, AKH has a further eight beds available for intensive acute or long-term medical care of children of all ages. To ensure the best placement of antimicrobial copper surfaces, it was necessary to identify key areas in the environment were contamination was most likely to result in infections.

AKH’s technical manager, Peter Uszkoreit, said: “Since door and window handles are frequently touched by both medical personnel and visitors, these have all been replaced with copper fittings.”

This, however, is just the beginning. Uszkoreit would also like to see other hotspots upgraded to antimicrobial copper, including light switches and bed rails.

The second phase of the refurbishment is planned for early next year, during which key fixtures and fittings in the Perinatal Centre at the highest level of perinatal care (Level 1) are to be replaced with antimicrobial copper items.

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