Copper in Guidelines and Rating Systems

As the evidence base for antimicrobial copper has grown and awareness becomes more widespread, it is being included in infection prevention and control guidance, healthcare accreditation schemes and green, hygienic and well building schemes. 

Infection Control Guidance

EPIC3: National Evidence-Based Guidelines for Preventing Healthcare-Associated Infections in NHS Hospitals in England 2014

Copper is recognised as an emerging technology for its ability to continuously and significantly reduce bioburden.

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ECRI: Top 10 Technology Watch List for the Hospital C-Suite 2014

#4. Copper Surfaces: How Many Are Needed in a Hospital Room to Prevent Hospital-acquired Infections?

Concludes that implementation of copper and copper alloy surfaces might not only improve patient health outcomes, but might also save the healthcare system significant funds.

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CNESH: Top 10 New & Emerging Health Technology Watch List: 2014

The lower levels of bacteria on copper surfaces in an ICU setting have led to a reduction in rates of health care-acquired infection. This new technology, which is intended to deliver antibacterial activity in between regular cleaning intervals, is purported to have antibacterial properties that last the product’s lifetime. It appears the antimicrobial copper surfaces achieve a 99.9% reduction in both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria within two hours of exposure.

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AHRQ: Understanding the Role of Facility Design in the Acquisition and Prevention of Healthcare-Associated Infections 2013

Novel and best-practice technologies, materials, and design strategies may directly decrease the risk of transmission of pathogens by decreasing the burden of microorganisms in the environment. 

Alternative surface materials, such as copper alloys, provide continuous antimicrobial activity.

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Healthcare Accreditation Scheme

National Centre for Quality Assessment in Healthcare/CMJ

Centrum Monitorowania Jakości w Ochronie Zdrowia (CMJ) is a Government agency of Poland, established in 1998, with the job of encouraging healthcare facilities to improve the quality and efficacy of services and patient safety standards. It runs a hospital accreditation programme in Poland. In order to obtain accreditation, hospitals are required to demonstrate appropriate procedures are in place and followed. It carries out a structured process of external assessment, based on measurable criteria and accepted standards which it publishes.

In April 2016, it was the first European health agency to recommend the use of antimicrobial copper-alloy touch surfaces as an infection prevention and control measure.

Its role is comparable to the Care Quality Commission and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in England.

CMJ website (in Polish)

Green, Hygienic and Well Building Schemes

International WELL Building Standard™

The WELL Building Standard™ is an evidence-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring the performance of building features that impact health and well-being. WELL is administered by the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI), a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and well-being through the built environment.

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Finnish Building Information Foundation Indoor Hygiene Environment General Criteria: RT1 – (Draft October 2016, consultation period now closed)

Antimicrobial materials are offered as a measure to meet defined hygiene ratings. Copper is recognised as the most effective and best known antimicrobial material.

See 4. Reducing the Spread of Infection; 4.1 Surfaces and Fixtures; 4.1.1 Antimicrobial Materials.

Building Information Foundation website

IGBC Green Healthcare Facilities Rating System Guidelines (Draft September 2016, consultation period now closed)

Copper surfaces approved by International Copper Association, India comply with SH Credit 3: Sanitisation and Hygiene: Infection Control within the Spaces.

IGBC website

Copper and copper alloys are engineering materials that are durable, colourful and recyclable and are widely available in various product forms suitable for a range of manufacturing purposes. Copper and its alloys offer a suite of materials for designers of functional, sustainable and cost-effective products.

Copper and certain copper alloys have intrinsic antimicrobial properties (so-called ‘Antimicrobial Copper’) and products made from these materials have an additional, secondary benefit of contributing to hygienic design. Products made from Antimicrobial Copper are a supplement to, not a substitute for standard infection control practices. It is essential that current hygiene practices are continued, including those related to the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.

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