Storm Doors Improve Infection Control at Sutter General Hospital
By Inna Gritsak, Marketing Associate, The Boldt Co.
Weak immune systems and dusty construction areas do not go well together. Because of this, Sutter Medical Center’s construction partner, the Boldt Co., is improving its infection control precautions to safeguard Sutter General Hospital patients and staff from construction-related infections.
More than a dozen infection control plastic barriers with zippers are being replaced with more durable and cost-effective storm doors as Sutter General Hospital is being renovated and transformed into the Ose Adams Medical Pavilion. Infection control barriers are required to prevent dust and other toxins from entering the occupied areas of the hospital during renovation.
So far, eight of these residential storm doors have been installed at Sutter General. Karen Newhouse, Boldt senior project manager, said eight more doors have been ordered and will be installed when they arrive.
Installing barriers is part of the hospital’s infection control protocol regulated by the American Society for Healthcare Engineering. The extent of infection control depends on the hospital area and the type of construction work being performed. When an area is classified as class three or four by ASHE, an anteroom separating the construction area from the hospital is required. The anterooms at SGH are mostly negative pressure isolation rooms that construction workers must use to enter or exit any construction space connecting to an occupied hospital space.
“You have to go in the first door and close it before you can open the second one,” Newhouse said. “You can never have two doors open at the same time.”
Besides anterooms, other infection control precautions include washing off all the wheels on carts exiting the construction area, covering all tool carts and buggies with lids or tarps, wet mopping all construction floors, and providing walk-off baths, sticky mats and fans near exit areas. In some areas of the hospital, like the sterile processing department, the construction personnel will even gown up in order to enter their work space.
Although the upfront cost of a replacement storm door ranges from $100 to $130 compared to an average $36 for a zipper, once installed, the storm door should not need to be replaced throughout the duration of a project.
Other benefits are ease of use for the construction workers and aesthetics for hospital workers and others.
“They told us, ‘Those are awesome!’ ” Newhouse said. “They love them. They think they are slick. … It’s a lot more professional.”