The importance of optimal temperature control in hospitals

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Whenever we hear topics covering hospitals in the UK, it’s usually highlighting the struggles they’re facing. Whether that being staff shortages or problem based on the lack of funding, the headlines seem to flow in endlessly about the issues that hospitals face on a daily basis. Though, it’s not only money concerns or time that are factors affecting hospitals every day, it’s air too.

To keep staff and patients safe and comfortable, it’s important for hospitals all over the world to have a certain level of air quality and temperature control, especially for sick patient vulnerable to diseases. The last thing a hospital needs is for an airborne disease to flow in and out of its wards. To avoid this from happening, there most be appropriate ventilation and ventilation management systems in place to keep patients safe. 

With that in mind, we’ll explore in this article the most important aspects of temperature and air quality control for hospitals.

Keeping patients comfortable

The most important purpose for temperature control is to keep patient comfortable always. This was highlighted during an incident in March 2018 when a faulty air conditioning unit led to a dramatic drop in temperature for a maternity ward in Kent. The temperature dropped low enough to risk hypothermia for the babies in the ward. 

What’s more concerning is that it’s not just cold temperatures that are a problem that hospitals face when we talk about temperature control. Both patients and staff complained throughout the year of problem temperatures, from 33°C in the labour and maternity ward in the summer, to being unbearably cold in the winter. With a proper investment in effective HVAC systems and temperature sensors, a comfortable level can be maintained. 

Controlling disease

Along with the concern for patient comfort, safety is another. As many of us know, bacteria and fungi thrive in overly-warm conditions, and can spread quickly in unventilated rooms. By carefully monitoring temperature and humidity, the risk of airborne diseases spreading can be reduced significantly. According to an article by Rotronic UK, the recommended room temperature for hospitals in the summer is between 23°C and 27°C, while in the winter it is recommended to keep the temperatures slightly lower with a guide range of 24°C to 26°C. Humidity-wise, the report recommends 50-60%rh throughout the hospital.

Controlling germs

Air quality and ventilation systems are crucial for controlling airborne germs and diseases. Medical Xpress noted the current practice of some hospitals involves using negative pressure rooms to treat infected patients, with ventilation rooms that keep the air from these rooms from getting out to the rest of the hospital. 

Hospitals can reduce the air supply within its infected wards and pump it out at maximum, which forms a negative pressure in the rooms. This means when a door is opened, air rushes into the room, but not out. This keeps the germ-filled air trapped in the wards with the infected patients, rather than allowing it out to spread through the building. 

So, from our information, we can see that it’s incredibly important for hospitals to have temperature, air quality and ventilation control at all times. For an industry already facing so many issues, poor air conditioning and humidity levels shouldn’t have to be suffered; they can be easily dealt with a quality air conditioning system to keep patients comfortable and protected.

Sources:

https://www.kentonline.co.uk/canterbury/news/hospital-repairs-backlog-putting-patients-at-risk-197332/

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-07-large-scale-germ-solution-hospitals.html

https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/operating-room/developing-case-implementation-operating-room-air-decontamination-technology

https://blog.rotronic.co.uk/2014/09/15/importance-of-monitoring-and-controlling-temperature-and-humidity-in-hospitals/

https://news.sky.com/nhs-in-numbers