Pullman Regional Hospital – a level IV trauma centre in the United States – installed antimicrobial copper components throughout its facility as an additional way of reducing healthcare-associated infections and keeping patients safe.
Pullman Regional Hospital, located in Washington State, was in the vanguard of US hospitals adopting antimicrobial copper, following healthcare facilities in other countries around the world.
'[Healthcare-associated infections are] a very serious problem,' noted Ed Harrich, Director of Surgical Services for Pullman Regional Hospital. 'I think every hospital across the nation is doing everything they can to try to deal with it the best that they can, but there's bioburden on everything and people aren't good at hand washing, and there's cross-contamination everywhere you go.'
Pullman has installed solid antimicrobial copper surfaces throughout its 95,000-square foot facility, including tap handles, IV poles and electronic door access buttons. It plans to eventually install more than 420 copper cabinet pulls throughout the hospital. The administration would also like to add bed handles and rails, chair armrests and countertops made from antimicrobial copper.
'We're excited,' said Jeannie Eylar, RN and Chief Clinical Officer for Pullman Regional Hospital. 'We feel like we're on the right path and copper is helping us achieve the outcome we want.'
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.