Specifying durable and effective antimicrobial materials for healthcare design is becoming increasingly important in light of growing antimicrobial resistance and the need to improve infection control.
Now a new CPD presentation is helping architects to understand the challenges of infection control and the solution antimicrobial copper touch surfaces provide.
Copper is inherently antimicrobial, meaning it will rapidly kill bacteria and viruses on contact. It shares this property with many alloys – including brass and bronze – and this family of materials is known as ‘antimicrobial copper’. By replacing frequently-touched surfaces such as door furniture, taps and handrails with items made from solid antimicrobial copper, the risk of infections spreading via those surfaces can be dramatically reduced.
Clinical trials in hospitals across the world have shown that antimicrobial copper surfaces harbour around 80% less contamination than non-copper surfaces, and can make a significant contribution to reducing infection rates. Product manufacturers have responded to the resulting market demand by creating new product ranges, available in a wide variety of colours and designs to suit any aesthetic.
The CPD material has been developed by the Copper Development Association and approved by the Royal Institute of British Architects through its CPD Providers Network, which offers architects and other construction professionals high-quality CPD material.
The presentation describes what healthcare associated infections are, the dangers they pose and their cost, both financially and in terms of lives lost. The role touch surfaces play in the spread of infection is also explained, along with how antimicrobial copper can help break the chain of infection by continuously reducing surface contamination. The business case is then presented, demonstrating rapid return on investment and example installations are given and guidance provided on how to recognise efficacious products, covering test standards and the Cu+ industry stewardship scheme.
The material is available online as a narrated presentation with accompanying notes, followed by a web-based self-assessment. It can also be delivered at a practice. Either method takes around one hour, and completion counts as two hours’ CPD.