When it comes to hospital settings, there's a need to foster the utmost cleanliness and top-level hygiene. As much as possible, infection prevention and control features should be set in place. These proper measures are all the more necessary given the recent COVID-19 outbreak as there's a need to prevent the virus from spreading and infecting other patients or staff in the facility. So much has been done to maintain the hygiene level of UK hospitals, yet there's often one piece that's often neglected––cubicle curtains.
In this article, we'll tackle the potential dangers of cubicle curtains and share with you how to address the spread and infection:
Potential dangers of cubicle curtains
A recently published article claimed that a systematic problem is apparent in the healthcare industry concerning the use of drapes in the cubicle. The article states that these drapes can be infected with multiple strains of bacteria. In fact, they serve as a "breeding ground for MRSA and other dangerous bugs," the article explained.
There are a handful of reasons curtains can pose a threat of infection among patients and individuals in the hospital. For one, some medical professionals do not wash their hands when handling them. Two, visitors in the hospital also hold them without sanitising their hands. Three, even the patients themselves frequently touch these curtains, which is where the potential health dangers come into the picture.
UK guidelines on cleaning/replacing cubicle curtains
Another alarming concern is the government's guidelines on cleaning and replacing drapes. This is because there are no strict regulations for disinfection and stringent requirements for testing curtains for contamination.
The UK government's guidelines only state the following: "The manufacturer's recommendations in respect of periodic inspection and maintenance should be followed." The directive only means that the responsibility lies in the curtain manufacturers, so proper recommendations should be provided.
Addressing the potential danger of cubicle curtains
Given the problems and challenges presented above, how can your medical facility address the potential danger of curtains in the cubicle? Take note of the following:
- Stop the spread of infection: You can either wash your drapes at antimicrobial temperatures or replace them more frequently. To save time and effort, your facility can work with a laundry service to do this periodically, but you need to ensure that proper cleaning and sanitising measures are taken. The ultimate goal is to stop the further spread of infection through the curtains.
- Switch to disposable alternatives: Another viable option is to use disposable curtains. This is an excellent solution for hospital employees that spend lots of time in removing, washing, and reinstalling the drapes. In fact, most hospitals in the UK have made the switch from fabric to disposable drapes in recent years.
At this point, you now have learned how curtains in the cubicle can pose a threat to patients and individuals in hospital settings. However, this doesn't mean that these potential dangers cannot be addressed. As explained above, there are ways to stop the spread of infection, and switching to disposable curtains is a great solution.
We are a leading supplier and installer of cubicle curtains in the UK, catering to private medical companies and working with the NHS. If you need a supply of NHS-certified medical or hospital drapes, get in touch with us today to see how we can help!