CASE STUDY: Hospital Streamlines Waste And Reduces Cross-Contamination
Sanford Health, as part of a new state-of- the-art $494 million medical center that recently opened in Fargo, N.D., has deployed an automated system for rapidly collecting and transporting waste, recycling and soiled linen that is more efficient than conventional methods, and that dramatically reduces patient, visitor and staff exposure to dirty materials in the new facility. The new hospital officially opened to the public July 25.
The system, designed and built by Denver-based TransVac Solutions, handles the movement of dirty linen, recycling and waste from the hospital’s 11 patient floors across the one-million-square-foot, 284-bed facility with space for an additional 92 beds shelled in to allow for future growth. Each patient floor has a controlled-access room that contains a loading station for trash/recycling and another for soiled linen. Authorized staff load material into these stations, then activate the computer-monitored pneumatic/vacuum controls that whisks it through a 16-inch sealed pipe network to a central collection point located near the hospital’s loading dock.
“Our goal is to provide patients the highest quality environment for healing, and a clean and pleasant environment for staff, family and visitors,” says Sanford Health’s Facilities Manager Brian Windingland. “The automated waste, recycling and soiled linen system will help achieve this goal by rapidly moving trash and linen from patient floors to the back of the house. It’s more efficient than manually transporting dirty materials, and it reduces exposure to potentially infectious materials significantly.”
The TransVac system replaces traditional manual methods that rely on the use of carts, elevators, holding rooms and chutes to collect and remove trash and soiled linen. Recent scientific research suggests that soiled linen particulate concentrations are particularly high in soiled holding rooms and at the bottom of gravity chutes.
These particulates, which can carry bacteria when airborne, pose an infection risk when staff come into contact with contaminated surfaces and air. Staff can run the risk of transporting pathogens throughout the hospital.
“Preventing healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) are a vital component of every hospital’s quality of care and infection control efforts,” says Atreo Group President Harry Pliskin. “The TransVac system helps hospitals to meet public expectations and organizational goals in this area, improving efficiency, reducing costs and raising performance while using fewer resources. In this respect, we are excited to partner with Sanford Health as they open their new state-of-the-art facility for the people of Fargo and surrounding communities.”
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