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Experiences from the Corona pandemic give us lessons for the future

The corona pandemic has developed into a tragedy for people all over the world. The extent and rapid progress of the spread of infection have put extreme strains, not least on healthcare. The situation raises new issues, which we – helped by experiences from what we are now seeing – can benefit from in future healthcare initiatives. One of these questions is how we can ensure that the infection does not spread within the healthcare system's own facilities.

Quarantine-ready spaces in healthcare and care homes are a key issue to stop the spread of viruses between patients, but also between patients and staff. WHO and national entities, such as the Public Health Agency of Sweden, issue strong recommendations to develop environments that effectively separate carriers from other operations.

Care of patients with Covid-19 or other infectious diseases should take place behind closed doors in special infection rooms. The spread of infection during entry and exit shall be prevented through airlocks and anterooms and by means of door solutions where architects, ventilation consultants and door manufacturers together create environments where combinations of low pressure and high pressure stop viruses from being transmitted from sick to healthy patients.

In the quarantine environment, extreme hygiene requirements are also imposed. The infection rooms should have equipment and furnishings that counteract dirt accumulations and surface layers that can withstand frequent cleaning.

Doors are a key issue

The doors used in healthcare are important in several ways. Doors for entry and exit and to adjacent storage rooms and toilet areas are constantly passed. Frequent touch makes the door extremely exposed to dirt and bacteria. A hygiene door must therefore be insensitive to moisture and various detergents and withstand repeated cleaning.

In quarantine environments, the requirements are further increased. Hygiene requirements are tightened – often to hygiene class 3 – and virus spread to adjacent premises should be prevented by e.g., hermetically sealed hinged and sliding doors that secure the right air pressure and prevent the spread of infection between different departments and rooms.

The door manufacturer THERMOD has delivered doors to healthcare environments all over Europe and often participates in a consultative role in preparatory work for new nursing homes.

The company develops and manufactures doors in fiberglass. The fiberglass has properties that match healthcare requirements for durability and frequent cleaning. At the same time, the doors are designed to meet specific functional requirements for applications such as X-ray spaces, operating theatres, and cleanrooms.

"Creating good healthcare environments requires insight and effort from many people," says Jonas Green, Thermod's Sales Manager. It's the big picture that determines whether you get there. The right architecture and layout are a prerequisite. After that, together with other suppliers, we can contribute with the right building blocks.

Increased focus

Thermod feels that interest in quarantine environments – as a result of the Corona situation – has increased.

"There are many questions and there is great interest in thoughtful solutions. In the midst of all the misery, it feels like the experience of what we are now going through means that we will be better equipped if this happens again," says Jonas Green.

Thermod participates as a supplier in several major construction projects in healthcare. Examples include Sunderby Hospital in Luleå and Ryhov County Hospital in Jönköping. Within the company, there is also continuous development of what can be done with the help of the door to contribute to good sterile and quarantine environments.

"Each project is unique, but certain requirements are still common. The right door solution is already a core issue and will continue to be so in the future," concludes Jonas Green.

Recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Sweden

Care of person in quarantine in hospital:

  • Primarily in single patient rooms with airlock
  • Secondly, in single patient rooms with anterooms
  • Thirdly, in a single patient room with a closed door
  • Daily cleaning with disinfectant of the room's close care touch surfaces

Care of a person in quarantine in care homes who do not need medical care:

  • Private accommodation with closed door to public areas
  • Daily cleaning with disinfectant of the room's close care touch surfaces

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