In a breaking study, medical researchers found that hand contact with privacy curtains transfers some of the worst sources for healthcare acquired infections. Privacy curtains are prime suspects in the spread of infection.
Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, NY completed a research study of Inpro Shield™ anti-microbial and standard privacy curtains, considered ‘high-touch’ surfaces.Their purpose was to assess anti-microbial activity of standard privacy curtains versus anti-microbial privacy curtains and to compare direct and indirect costs associated with each.
Westchester performed tests using one standard fabric sample and two samples of Inpro Shield fabrics. Both samples were evaluated for anti-microbial activity by placing fabric samples directly onto Mueller Hinton agar inoculated with clinical isolates or quality control organisms. Antimicrobial activity was measured using the disc di—usion method as per Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute. Control discs were: vancomycin for Staphyloccocus aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci and enterococci; chloramphenicol for VRE, and meropenem for gram-negative bacteria.
A total of 15 clinical and ATCC quality control organisms, including MRSA, VRE, P. aeruginosa, K. pneumoniae, E. coli, Enterobacter cloacae and A. baumannii, were tested. One of the anti-microbial fabrics exhibited broad-spectrum antibacterial activity comparable to that of an antibiotic control disc, while the other showed much less activity. No antimicrobial activity was detected with the standard sample Westchester concluded that, “[Shield] antimicrobial curtain #2 showed in-vitro activity against hospital pathogens that was comparable to that of an antibiotic disc.”
- Both Inpro Shield samples showed in-vitro anti-microbial activity and one of them exhibited activity comparable to the antibiotic disc. Standard curtain showed no anti-microbial activity
- In year one, Westchester recognized a cost savings of $50,612 by installing Inpro Shield curtains, despite a higher initial purchase cost for the antimicrobial curtains
- In year two and going forward, an additional $139,138 can be saved due to reductions in labor, laundering and room closure time associated with not changing curtains for isolation rooms Note: these savings may vary per hospital depending upon the number of isolation discharges per year
- If effective, use of anti-microbial curtains may provide an opportunity to avert costs related to isolation based curtain changing and laundering
- Further study will be necessary to test the anti-microbial curtain efficacy in clinical situations and over time