Roberto del Rio Children's Hospital, Chile

Roberto del Rio Children’s Hospital – the oldest paediatric facility in Chile – installed antimicrobial copper surfaces in its intensive care and treatment rooms to reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections.

Antimicrobial Copper installation at Roberto del Rio children's hospital in Chile

The initiative was developed in conjunction with the Chilean Ministry of Health, and aims to revolutionise hospital hygiene standards using surfaces that have been shown to continuously reduce microbial contamination by greater than 90%. The installation was a first for Latin America, following a growing number of installations in Europe, Asia and North America.

'This initiative will benefit children who are hospitalised in critical conditions as they will be in a healthier environment,' explained Doctor Ignacio Hernandez, Director of Roberto del Rio.

Surfaces upgraded to antimicrobial copper include bed rails, trolleys, taps, hand rails and door furniture. All products bear the Cu+ mark, certifying that all the copper alloys used benefit from copper's inherent ability to rapidly kill bacteria, viruses and fungi 24/7, in between regular cleans.

Doctor Michael Schmidt, leader of the three-centre US trial, from which initial data shows a greater than 40% reduction in a patient's risk of acquiring a healthcare-associated infection when staying in a room containing antimicrobial copper surfaces, has said of Roberto del Rio: 'These are among the best public facilities using antimicrobial copper I've seen. I hope this initiative will be replicated by many health services around the world.'

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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