Indoor air quality is important for every building, but it’s especially vital for hospitals. It impacts patient health, staff comfort, and a hospital’s overall rating.
What Is Indoor Air Quality?
Indoor air quality measures how comfortable a building feels in relation to temperature and humidity. It also considers contaminants or other health risks in the environment. Employees feel comfortable and are able to be productive when indoor air quality is good. Patients are comfortable, protected from germs and can focus on getting well.
Poor indoor air quality in a regular building can cause symptoms similar to those of the common cold. Employees might report headaches, itchy, watery eyes, breathing problems, etc. In a hospital, the problem is much more serious. Healthy visitors and employees can be needlessly exposed to germs and sick patients can become sicker.
Hospitals are required to meet ASHRAE standards for HVAC design. There are several specific areas to consider when evaluating a hospital’s indoor air quality:
The building design, administration, and all other elements of a hospital are focused on helping the sick get well. Patients are the reason to focus on improving indoor air quality – but they also contribute to the problem. Waiting areas can be a petri dish of infection. Patients touch their faces and other surfaces, leaving germs behind. Magazines are often distributed, and children move around and touch things all the time. Even the most mindful patients can cough, spreading germs to nearby surfaces.
Bodily fluids from wounds or incontinence come in contact with other surfaces. Clothing and personal items that are a comfort to the patient and their families can also carry infection.
Hospital staff come into direct contact with all these elements. Part of providing good indoor air quality is implementing protocols for removing contaminants. Hand washing, the use of gloves, and proper disposal of biological materials is imperative.
Be aware of the chemicals that exist in the cleaners used for disinfection. Strong odors and fumes can contribute to poor indoor air quality.
Heating and air conditioning ducts pump air throughout the building to keep patients and staff comfortable, but these systems can also distribute contaminants. Moisture from the HVAC system can collect in the ducts and provide a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and other allergens or particles. Dust and chemicals can be spread through the ducts. Bacteria and fungi can germinate and fester. Casto Tech can evaluate your hospital’s ductwork to evaluate if it should be cleaned.
All buildings benefit from regularly changing air filters. Hospitals are no exception. Clean filters work more efficiently to remove dust and contaminants from the system. They also improve unit efficiency and life expectancy. Casto Tech specializes in showing customers how preventative maintenance can reduce energy costs.
A hospital and its staff need to be free to fulfil their purpose: to serve patients. Poor air quality and HVAC issues can negatively affect patient health. Casto Tech has more than 50 years of experience handling HVAC maintenance and installation and will help ensure that your hospital serves its patients efficiently and that your air quality is the best it can be.