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    Hospital Acquired Infection

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    • Hospital Acquired Infection

    Healthcare acquired infection numbers

    1 in 20

    inpatients infected

    30,000

    avoidable deaths per year

    7 million

    hospital bed days incurred per year

    80,000

    working days lost by infected hospital staff per year

    £2.7 billion

    burden on the NHS

    Curtains are a major part of the problem

    Frequently touched

    Privacy curtains are one of the most frequently touched surfaces in the near patient environment both immediately before and after care thereby providing a ready vector for transmission.

    Hand hygiene is undermined

    Attempts at improving hand hygiene are undermined because contaminated curtains are often handled immediately before and after administering care.

    Contamination is commonplace

    2 days is the average time taken for hospital curtains to be become contaminated.

    92% of hospital curtains found to be contaminated within a week.

    Changing curtains is generally avoided due to the disruption and downtime involved. This means that they are sometimes changed only when visibly soiled. Many hospitals have no policy on when curtains should be changed. Policies typically range from every 3 months to once a year.

    "Bacterial pathogens on privacy curtains may travel to patients by way of health care workers’ hands. Healthcare workers are likely to touch curtains after performing hand hygiene but before patient care."

    Ohl M, et al.Hospital privacy curtains are frequently and rapidly contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria. Am J Infect Control. Vol. 40, No. 10. Pages 904-906. December 2012.

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    "We know that privacy curtains pose a high risk for cross contamination because they are frequently touched but infrequently changed"

    Kevin ShekBSc, lead study author, Rate of contamination of hospital privacy curtains in a burns/plastics ward: A longitudinal study. Am J Infect Control. Vol. 46, No. 9. September 2018. Shek, et al. (2018)

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    "The finding that transfer of organisms to curtains occurs rapidly suggests that even frequent changing or cleaning of curtains may not effectively reduce contamination."

    Ohl M, et al.Hospital privacy curtains are frequently and rapidly contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria. Am J Infect Control. Vol. 40, No. 10. Pages 904-906. December 2012.

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    "Because pathogens may survive on hospital surfaces for days or weeks, this makes curtains potentially important vehicles for transmission of pathogens from prior room occupants to new patients."

    Ohl M, et al.Hospital privacy curtains are frequently and rapidly contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria. Am J Infect Control. Vol. 40, No. 10. Pages 904-906. December 2012.

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