Joinery is often considered an afterthought during the planning of infection prevention measures in healthcare facilities despite taking up most of the physical space used by staff, visitors and patients. For this reason, hospital buyers and interior designers should consider healthcare products at the forefront of infection control when specifying for acute care areas in hospitals and aged care facilities.
HPL Laminates, Compact laminates
Improved technology in the manufacture of HPL laminates and compact laminates include antibacterial properties which help to control germs and bacteria. Silver ion technology, a protection that uses the natural properties of silver, protects HPL laminates against the actions of germs and bacteria.
It is imperative that correct product specification for the application can minimise the potential for possible infection in a given area. Your considerations when choosing the right HPL laminates for infection control will vary from project to project or even room to room.
With improved manufacturing capabilities and greater emphasis on design, it is increasingly easy for Builders and Joiners to overlook potential safety requirements when they look to swap out a premium HPL product for the same or similar decor in a standard melamine board product. These so-called cost saving exercises can result in detriment to the project. In saying this, specifiers need to hold firm on what they write in their specifications to ensure full benefit of the product specified is not compromised.
In an age of high demand for cleanliness etc designers of Joinery in Hospitals and Aged care facilities should prioritise product selection that encourages infection control. This can be judged on the ability for staff to clean all items easily within the room. Cleaners must be able to access all surfaces of Joinery including underneath areas. Debris and fluids can often build up in areas of Joinery and furniture and become breeding grounds for bacteria.
HPL laminates where used in Internal doors, Bedheads, Wardrobes, Vanities, Tables etc are optimal products in these areas requiring ease of cleaning which in turn makes them least likely to harbour bacteria.
The materials used in joinery and furniture must also be able to withstand regular cleaning, particularly of bleach solutions which is the preferred infection prevention cleaner for all surfaces in hospitals.
Cleaners will often disregard product specific cleaning instructions due to time restrictions and use the same product to maximise efficiency.
Not all joinery and furniture in a healthcare facility requires the protection listed above and product specification will vary based on areas to be used in. Waiting and reception areas for example will have significantly lowered infection control requirements when compared to acute care areas and allow specification for a lower costed product option to suit your project budgeting.