Asklepios - Germany's largest private healthcare operator - has announced the biggest installation of antimicrobial copper touch surfaces in a European hospital to date, aiming to reduce the spread of infections in key areas. This is their second facility to benefit from antimicrobial copper surfaces, with Wandsbek Asklepios Clinic already boasting two wards with antimicrobial copper door handles, push plates and light switches.
30th October 2014
Harburg Asklepios Clinic is a 774-bed facility that treated 76,000 patients in 2013. The six-storey building has been refurbished this year, expanding and adding departments including a cutting-edge intensive care unit with space for 60 patients. Throughout the ICU, stroke unit and isolation rooms - where some of the hospital's most vulnerable patients are treated - 600 antimicrobial copper door handles have been added to help reduce the risk of infections spreading.
'Patient safety is our highest priority,' explains Dr Thomas Wolfram, spokesman for the Asklepios management team. 'By using hundreds of copper door handles to prevent infection, we have achieved a further milestone in the field of hygiene, demonstrating once again our leading role in combating and reducing hazardous germs including multidrug-resistant pathogens.'
'Hands are known to be the main carriers of pathogens, so door handles play an important role as one of the most common contact surfaces. This is where antimicrobial copper comes in,' adds Dr Susanne Huggett, Medical Director of Asklepios's MEDILYS Laboratory. 'Made from a copper alloy containing 70% copper, the handles have a strong germ-reducing effect, which we have demonstrated in our own studies. They are thus part of a comprehensive set of infection prevention measures, an effective supplement to measures such as hand sanitiser, regular surface disinfection and hygiene training for staff.'
Asklepios now plans to evaluate the new installation and consider the rollout of antimicrobial copper surfaces to its other facilities.
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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.