Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
A state-of-the-art centre being constructed at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital is due to set the gold standard for infection prevention with Antimicrobial Copper door furniture specified throughout in a bid to reduce the risk of healthcare associated infections in particularly vulnerable patients.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is one of the UK's most common
life-threatening inherited diseases, affecting some 8,500 children,
teenagers and young adults. Hospital treatment is complex and
lengthy and, whilst in hospital, patients are isolated from family
and friends and removed from their normal lives.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa chest infections are of particular
concern as the organism has been shown to be transmissible between
people with CF, so it was important that the new facility be
designed with premiere infection prevention measures firmly in
With the new facility, it was the hope of Dr Frank Edenborough,
Consultant at the Sheffield Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre, and the
Cystic Fibrosis team that they could create an environment to meet
both the clinical and personal needs of patients. They helped
design a ward that would combine those key infection prevention
measures with a comfortable and appealing environment that aims to
mitigate the boredom of sometimes very prolonged stays.
Dr Edenborough explains the role copper will play: "In a bid to
set the gold standard for infection prevention in CF, we felt that
copper could make an important contribution towards minimising
surface contamination from hands or coughing, killing potentially
dangerous pathogens in between cleans and augmenting rigorous
hygiene protocols. It is our hope that, in this way, copper will
help reduce the risk of infections."
Architect Rebecca Haverty of Race Cottam Associates, the practice
assigned the task of designing the cutting-edge Centre, was also
enthusiastic about Antimicrobial Copper's potential to kill germs
and fit in with the modern, elegant theme of their designs.
"Common materials such as plastics may look clean, but they have
no inherent antimicrobial efficacy," she says. "Antimicrobial
Copper can help to fight infection, so we were very keen to use
it. It seems almost too good to be true and yet it's proven
to work. The range of alloys available means any project can
gain from the benefits of copper. We chose to use an almost
pure copper to make a statement, but a nickel silver finish would
look good too."
Instinct Hardware, the company supplying the Antimicrobial Copper
components, have seen the demand for such products rise steeply in
recent months as more infection control professionals are becoming
aware of its potential for their facilities.
"The increased interest in copper coincides with Instinct's
progressive research and development into antimicrobial products,"
says Nilesh Chohan, Works Manager at Instinct Hardware. "It
is proven as the most effective antimicrobial touch surface
material, whilst being completely recyclable, thus complying with
the sustainable demands of today. These factors have led to the
addition of a copper range that is in keeping with the Instinct
philosophy for providing reliable, superior quality products, where
integrity of the material is a critical factor."
Recognising copper's beauty as well as its antimicrobial
properties, a piece of copper artwork has been commissioned for the
clinic, which will greet patients, staff and visitors when they
enter. The artwork is by prominent London-based metal smith
Adaesi Ukairo, who has a long-standing love of working with copper
and its alloys, such as brass and bronze.
From the innovative and contemporary room designs to the
Antimicrobial Copper touch surface components and the vibrant,
welcoming copper artwork, it is hoped by those working on the
project that the new unit will not only provide a safe and hygienic
environment for patients to be treated, but also one that will feel
more comfortable and inviting for long-term stays than existing
facilities, setting a gold standard for infection prevention and
revolutionising Cystic Fibrosis care.