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Intensive care unit beds outfitted with copper surfaces harbor an average of 94% less bacteria than conventional plastic hospital beds, a new study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology has found.
Hospital beds are among the most contaminated surfaces in patient care environments, contributing to risk of healthcare-associated infections. The researchers found that nearly 90% of the bacterial samples taken from the tops of plastic bed rails had concentrations considered to be unsafe.
Copper has long been known for its antimicrobial properties, but until recently there have not been acute-care hospital beds designed to encapsulate high-risk surfaces – including rails, foot boards, and bed controls – with the metal. Although such beds are not yet commercially available, it is anticipated that their future use will result in improved patient outcomes.
Michael G. Schmidt, coauthor of the study, said, “The findings indicate that antimicrobial copper beds can assist infection control practitioners in their quest to keep healthcare surfaces hygienic between regular cleanings, thereby reducing the potential risk of transmitting bacteria associated with healthcare-associated infections.”
Sources: Copper hospital beds kill bacteria, save lives. American Society for Microbiology, November 8, 2019. asm.org/Press-Releases/2019/November-1/Copper-Hospital-Beds-Kill-Bacteria,-Save-Lives.
Schmidt MG, et al. Self-disinfecting copper beds sustain terminal cleaning and disinfection (TC&D) effects throughout patient care. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2019; DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01886-19.
Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing
Winter 2019 – 2020 | Volume 43, Number 3
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