February 2012 - The Ronald McDonald House of Charleston (RMHC) provides temporary lodging and support for families of children that are seriously ill and provides a home-like atmosphere during their recovery.
RMHC replaced steel, wood and plastic touch surfaces with antimicrobial copper to help create a safer environment for the children, families and staff. Workers at the Ronald McDonald House have installed more than $400,000 worth of copper fixtures on "high-touch" surfaces including sinks and faucets, cabinet pulls, locks, dining room tables and hand rails.
"Our house is a home away from home," project manager Robin Willis [project manager at RMHC] said. "It's not as clean as a hospital room, but we still need to try. We have loads of housekeeping services, but this is just an added layer of protection for families. Bacteria die on these surfaces. On normal railings, they just sit and grow until they're sterilized."
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.
Some specific 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 important that current hygiene practices are continued, including those related to the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.
*Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, antimicrobial copper surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: MRSA, VRE, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7. Antimicrobial copper surfaces are a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices and have been shown to reduce microbial contamination, but do not necessarily prevent cross contamination or infections; users must continue to follow all current infection control practices.