How product design is aiding hospital hygiene
When the term “hospital hygiene” is branded about, most people’s first thought is to think of countless bottles of disinfectant. Sure enough, this is most certainly one of the most effective ways to clean a hospital and you only have to look at something like CIDEX OPA to see how much importance medical establishments place on efficient disinfectant products.
If one were to analyze this element of hospitals intently, something else would become clear though. Product designers are playing a huge role in how hospitals are maintaining their cleanliness. We’re not talking about standard medical equipment here either; most of the time it just revolves around basic furniture which is found around the wards.
To give more of an idea of how smart product design can come to the rescue of hospital hygiene, let’s take a look at several examples.
They have been part of the ward for decades and it doesn’t matter what hospital you find yourself in, there’s a very good chance that there will be thousands of bedside chairs dotted around the establishment.
However, the nature of this piece of furniture means that it is very susceptible to bacteria. Whether it’s from day-to-day use, or from a patient potentially having an accident, bedside chairs can attract a wide array of bacteria that can spread bugs.
To combat this, immense progress has been made in the design of them. Product designers have realized that making as many parts removable can make the world of difference. For example, a lot of the modern chairs are now blessed with magnetic cushions, which can be quickly removed and disinfected with the appropriate solution if an accident does occur. It means that contamination doesn’t “sink” into old fabrics like it may have done previously – it can be quickly removed.
This is another really interesting development. On first glance, the typical commode curtain may look very simple – but if you take a look at the fixtures and fittings closely you will see lots of fiddly little pieces. While these all contribute to its functionality, each piece results in the curtain becoming harder to clean. As well as cleaning each of the parts, the parts tend to disguise bacteria.
In response to this, product designers have managed to cut down the number of parts from around forty to ten. The result is a much simpler curtain – one that traps less bacteria and can be cleaned more efficiently.
We’ll leave arguably the best invention until the end; the smart mattress. Unsurprisingly, patient mattresses come under all sorts of bacteria through their lifespan and worryingly, unless the bacteria is plain for all to see, they aren’t reacted to.
Some product designers recognized this, and developed a mattress which changed color immediately upon contamination. Even if the contamination was mild, hospital staff would be able to see it straight away and ultimately act to either disinfect the mattress, or replace it if the damage was severe enough.
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