One major concern for the healthcare industry is Healthcare Associated Infections (HCAIs), in fact, it is reported that there are still around 4 million HCAIs per year in facilities across Europe. Whilst healthcare workers strive to implement strict infection control measures, such as frequent surface disinfection and improved hand-washing regimes there is still a need to further assist these facilities with additional products to help prevent HCAIs. Copper is one material that has been identified to help reduce the transmission of these when used in touch surfaces.
In ancient texts it was noted that copper has benefits to humans, from copper containers used to ensure potability of drinking water to copper compounds used to treat skin diseases and open wounds. More pertinently, in 1983 a hospital study in Pennsylvania showed copper’s effectiveness in lowering the Escherichia Coli count on brass door knobs.
According to experts 80% of infectious diseases are transferred by touch, and the most frequently touched surfaces, including taps, can be contaminated with anywhere from several hundred to over ten thousand infectious bacteria.
A clinical trial carried out at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham found that surfaces made from copper or copper alloys kill potentially harmful micro- organisms thereby significantly reducing the number of these organisms that come into contact with patients, visitors and staff. The trial was conducted on frequently touched surfaces such as taps, door push-plates, grab handles, toilet seats, over-bed tables and dressings trolleys. The copper items were swabbed twice a day, along with similar items made from conventional materials such as plastic, or chrome-plating. The results found that the items made from copper had 90 to 100 per cent fewer micro-organisms on them suggesting that the risk of picking up an infection from these objects is greatly reduced. In fact some studies showed a greater than 40% reduction in the risk of patients acquiring an infection which has the potential t significantly reduce care costs and improve patient outcomes and bed availability.
Being cited as a frequently used touch surface and particularly in healthcare environments, the inherent antimicrobial properties of copper can greatly assist in the fight against HCAIs.
Pegler Yorkshire has developed the Performa range of products primarily for the healthcare sector that conform to the latest Health Technical Memorandum guidance and also address key concerns such as the reduction of HCAIs. Using our technical know-how and in line with the Health Protection Agency our range of Antimicrobial Copper taps offer a more effective alternative to chrome finishes and silver-based antibacterial coated products.
Useful links: Copper Alliance - www.antimicrobialcopper.org
Click here to view the Antimicrobial Copper Patients Poster