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Stopping the Spread: Expanding Isolation Spaces in Hospitals and Nursing Homes

As the US battles COVID-19, data is pouring in on how healthcare providers are treating the disease and managing infection transmission in our hospital systems. One trend is clear: COVID-19 is continuing to spread through hospitals and care centers, despite PPE and other precautions.


By Ryan O’Grady, Americas Sales Manager for TSI Controlled Environments

Stopping the Spread: Expanding Isolation Spaces in Hospitals and Nursing HomesA recent Wall Street Journal article, “Hospitals Struggle to Contain Covid-19 Spread Inside Their Walls,” explains, “Nationwide, hospitals have identified 5,142 coronavirus infections apparently acquired inside hospitals from May 14 to June 21, according to figures provided to The Wall Street Journal by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The figure could be higher; the reporting is voluntary. Those are just cases in patients. The CDC hasn’t publicly reported in-house infection of the staffs of hospitals.”

Outside of hospitals, community spread in nursing homes has also been severe. In nearly half of states, the majority of coronavirus-related deaths link back to long-term care facilities, according to this New York Times article, “More Than 40% of U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Are Linked to Nursing Homes.”

Preventing COVID transmission in patient care facilities

It seems clear that administrators must deploy more tools and technologies to prevent infection transmission inside hospitals and nursing homes. Effective isolation containment—using negative air pressure—is a proven method to keep viruses and other infectious agents from spreading through a facility. Isolation could mean dedicated COVID-19 wards that are isolated from the rest of the facility with a negative pressure anteroom. Identifying and isolating other transmission areas, such as staff locker rooms where those caring for COVID-19 patients may encounter general hospital staff, is another step in reducing spread. Building new temporary or permanent isolation zones may be the best option for some facilities.

Compliance with standards and regulations for isolation spaces

Isolation rooms and wards come with regulatory requirements and standards. TSI‘s critical environment experts are fluent in current CDC, ASHE, ASHRAE, and other guidelines for effective isolation in healthcare facilities. They help hospitals quickly design isolation zones that fit individual facilities and meet their specialized needs.

Help and support for new isolation units and rooms

If you need to know more about navigating isolation conversions and design/builds, we have resources. Last month, TSI experts Dave Ruhland and Ryan O’Grady presented a 1-hour webinar, “Converting Spaces to Isolation Rooms for COVID-19 - HVAC Design & Monitoring.” This webinar recording is now available at your convenience; click on the View Now button on the link to access this free material.

In the isolation room webinar, you’ll learn the key considerations for quickly and reliably expanding airborne infectious isolation space. Other takeaways include:

  • Standards that apply to airborne infectious isolation rooms.
  • Techniques & materials for creating/converting an airborne infectious isolation space.
  • How to monitor isolation space to reduce transmission risk to your staff.

If you’re ready for isolation room development or expansion in your facility, contact TSI—we’re ready to help, with product on-hand to ship now.

Learn more about Hospital Monitoring and Control

Posted on Jul 10 2020 12:25
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