The arrival of COVID-19 has taught us many things – not the least of which is the need to exercise more caution when it comes to modes of disease transmission.
It’s true that infectious diseases have always been around, with some of them surging seasonally as in the case of poliomyelitis, measles and flu. However, the high mortality rate attributed to the new coronavirus has forced health experts and scientists to reassess how we have been living with various microbes in our surroundings.
In healthcare settings where the possibility of disease transmission is high, hospital and clinical personnel follow strict protocols to minimise the spread of infection. These measures include following prescribed assessment and treatment procedures, the proper disposal of medical waste, restricting certain sections to authorised personnel, requiring the use of PPEs, and the regular disinfection of instruments, machines and other hospital appliances.
Hospital Settings During COVID-19
With the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare facilities in high-case countries have been constantly overwhelmed by the rise in cases, so the fear of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) is much higher.
In the United States, where there are now nearly 14 million cases and over 270,000 deaths on record, over 900 medical front liners have succumbed to COVID-19 as of August 2020.
In the UK, places like Wales have reported an increase in hospital transmissions, while a four-month study in England revealed that at least 10% of COVID-19 cases were due to HAIs.
This is why today it is more important than ever to ensure hygiene standards and guidelines are continually being observed to prevent the spread of disease from patients to health workers and other patients.
In Australia, where COVID-19 cases and mortality rates are relatively lower, medical professionals follow the ‘Australian Guidelines for the clinical care of people with COVID-19’, which was published by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
The guidelines include instructions on the specific clinical management and care of people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection, including procedures to be followed based on the patient’s life stage or age. This, coupled with more ideal medical situations where there is no overcrowding has helped to control the spread of the new coronavirus within hospitals.
Aside from the importance of people and processes in managing hygiene and reducing intra-hospital disease transmissions, there are also engineering controls in place to control infection.
One of the key aspects of engineered control mechanisms that promote safety in medical establishments is hygienic hospital entrance doors. Since doors function as entrance and exit points, they are considered high-touch areas where disease-causing germs can stay alive for hours or days.
The Role of Contaminated Surfaces in Disease Transmission
A University of Leeds study back in 2015 revealed that intra-hospital disease transmissions occur when infected patients’ bacteria or viruses end up on surfaces. When uninfected people touch these surfaces, they can get sick themselves or spread the germs to others who are more susceptible to infection.
In the case of the new coronavirus, research has shown that the duration of its viability depends on what type of surface it is left on.
For example, earlier studies showed it can survive for five days on glass and metal surfaces such as jewellery, doorknobs and silverware, four days on wooden surfaces, and two to three days on various plastic products.
However, according to a newer study published on the Virology Journal, the new coronavirus can survive on surfaces (e.g. phone screens, paper money and stainless steel) for as long as 28 days. It can also survive much longer at lower (colder) temperatures and on smooth, non-porous surfaces like glass and stainless steel.
Since hospital entrance doors (and commercial automatic doors in general) are usually made of metal and glass, hospital door manufacturers are now offering medical establishments a chance to reduce surface contamination by using automated hospital glass doors – whether it’s by retrofitting or installing new hospital corridor doors, hospital toilet doors or any type of door in their premises.
Touchless Automatic Doors for Better Hygiene
To address concerns regarding disease transmission, establishments in Perth and the rest of Western Australia are adopting touchless automatic door technology.
This technology enables people to utilise access points without the need to touch shared surfaces that can get contaminated with bacteria, viruses and other types of germs. Referred to as ‘fomites’ in medical terminology, inanimate objects that can facilitate disease transmission in hospital settings include door handles, doorknobs, keypads, buttons and intercoms.
Now that COVID-19 health protocols continue to ease and more people venture out, it is paramount for public and private institutions to make their spaces safe and hygienic for everyone.
Aside from improving hygiene by eliminating the need to touch a door or knob, touchless automatic doors also provide other benefits, such as:
- Energy efficiency: The automated sliding mechanism of automatic doors ensures the rapid opening and closing of entryways. This helps to maintain a room’s ideal temperature and improves insulation.
- Seamless access: Depending on the model you choose, hospital glass doors become seamless entry and exit points, as all you need to do is wave your hand or arm to open them.
- Noise control: Installing door sensor technology effectively eliminates creaking sounds that are produced when opening and closing conventional doors.
The hygiene component of touchless automatic doors can also be enhanced if you get them fitted with airtight seals that work as barriers against different airborne debris, allergens, pollution and odours.
What’s more, even if you have existing hospital swinging doors, Go Doors can retrofit them so you can begin enjoying the benefits of door sensor technology. Hospitals using push-button access can be retrofitted with new Go Doors touchless sensors – no matter the hospital door width, too.
Hygienic door solutions from Go Doors
Ensure safety and hygiene are maintained in your hospital or healthcare facility by adopting touchless door solutions with Go Doors.
Go Doors is the sole Western Australia sales agent of globally renowned RECORD Automatic Doors – the Swiss maker of precision automatic door operators used in toilets for the handicapped, hospitals, shopping malls and international airports. Get in touch with Go Doors today!