Sentara Healthcare, a US-based not-for-profit healthcare organisation, will open a copper-infused hospital wing at its Sentara Leigh Hospital site to improve patient care.
Patient rooms and most of the clinical spaces at the 129-bed patient tower have been outfitted with antimicrobial copper-infused surfaces to decrease infection rates.
Sentara will also add antimicrobial copper-infused textiles, including bed linens and patients gowns, throughout the entire East Tower in early 2014.
The addition of the copper-infused surfaces and textiles at the East Tower is part of a study to determine whether they can reduce the development of infections, and thus the need for antibiotics prescribed as a result of hospital-acquired infection.
The study, which is anticipated to commence in the first quarter of 2014, will be the world’s largest-known study to date of durable, biologically active antimicrobial surfaces.
Sentara clinical effectiveness vice president Dr Gene Burke said that Sentara is pleased to become the first large-scale deployment of these advanced antimicrobial materials.
"Over the years, Sentara has implemented many advanced practices in an effort to minimise hospital-acquired infections at our facilities and we believe that new technologies, such as the copper-infused materials, have the potential to create another layer of protection in this very important effort," Dr Burke added.
Cupron, a Virginia-based biotechnology company, developed the copper technology used in the materials.
Cupron and EOS Surfaces partnered to develop the antimicrobial Cupron enhanced EOS surfaces, which have demonstrated their ability to kill more than 99.9% of gram negative and gram positive bacteria within two hours of exposure.
The antimicrobial Cupron enhanced EOS surfaces have been approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
These surfaces, despite proving their ability in reducing microbial contamination, have not necessarily prevented cross contamination.
Cupron chairman Paul Rocheleau noted that HAIs are a complex problem that will require new technologies and healthcare products working together to continue the journey to zero-infection environments.
"But what our Cupron-enhanced materials do is provide hospitals with another layer of protection that is constantly working in the background, to complement their existing infection control practices," Rocheleau added.
The antimicrobial Cupron enhanced EOS surfaces can be used only as a supplement to, and not as a substitute for, standard infection control practices.
Healthcare providers must continue to follow all current infection control practices, including those practices related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.