Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in healthcare facilities is fundamental to reducing contamination. Healthcare workers know that it’s essential to take all precautionary steps to minimize the transfer of microorganisms that can occur with any contact between contaminated surfaces and patients or visitors. Still, it can sometimes feel like an endless and difficult job to keep surfaces clean.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can make it easier. Cleaning and sanitizing protocols are always changing, as are the recommended products. As new practices are put into place to prevent the transmission of hazardous contaminants, healthcare workers (and the surfaces they are required to keep clean) will be put to the ultimate test. 

Keeping healthcare facilities clean and safe is not just the responsibility of the valuable cleaning staff, or of the clinical staff who care for patients. This is also the responsibility of the facility maintenance staff, and even beyond that, the leaders and designers who choose the specific surfaces and other materials that will be used in the facility. Selecting materials that are durable, resilient, and even offer advanced protection technology is a great way to invest in keeping your staff and patients safe - while also keeping your facility looking great. Here’s how to choose the right materials for your healthcare facility. 

Understanding “Hot Zones” in Healthcare Facilities.

Within a healthcare facility, “hot zones” are areas that pose a risk for increased contamination or other hazards to your patients and staff. Healthcare “hot zones” typically have a lot of traffic, don’t get the cleaning attention that they need, or provide a particularly ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. These are the areas that you should focus on first when making interior building and surface updates in your facility. Common examples of hot zones and touchpoints in healthcare buildings are:

  • Lobbies and Waiting Rooms
  • Patient Rooms
  • Restrooms
  • Dining Areas
  • Elevators 
  • ...And Many More 

Learn about combating contamination in healthcare facility hot zones with our downloadable infographic. 

Investing in the right materials for your healthcare facility will make it easy for you to do the cleaning you need to keep your patients and staff safe. Durable and antimicrobial materials offer both stylish designs and advanced features that save you time while looking great. Are you ready to take your facility to the next level of protection?

A doctor and child walking down a hallway pointing to a mural on right side.

How Will Healthcare Maintenance and Cleaning Protocols Change for the Future (and Impact Design)?

In nearly every industry, processes influence design, and design, in turn, influences processes. Healthcare is a rapidly evolving industry, with new innovations developed constantly - meaning your facility must keep up. Here are four factors that are currently influencing healthcare design, maintenance, and cleaning protocols. 

1. Consumer Focus 

The days of ugly metal chairs and institutional green walls are long gone; hospital design has been increasingly influenced by the hospitality industry with patients (and their families) expecting a comfortable, attractive facility that incorporates elements of home. As healthcare moves toward creating cozier environments, it’s important to ensure those homey finishes and other materials stand up to today’s evolving cleaning protocols. 

A patient's room in a hospital with a bed in the middle, a cubicle curtain to the left side of the bed and a small table and chairs to the right side.

2. Workforce Wellness

Showing employee appreciation (and decreasing turn-over) is essential in any industry, but it’s even more critical in the competitive world of healthcare. Many health systems have begun offering amenities to improve their employees’ health and happiness while at work. Features like gyms, outdoor amenities designed for exercise and relaxation, and areas for both socialization and private respite and rest are becoming more common. These spaces will need to be designed with cleaning and maintenance in mind in order to keep them safe, attractive, and encourage frequent use. 

A row of cardio machines in front of a set of windows with solar shades.

3. Flexibility

Space is at a premium in most healthcare facilities, and having flexible and adaptable areas will allow you to make the most with what you have. From offices that can serve as patient care areas, to patient rooms that can also be used to accommodate family members, flexible spaces allow you more freedom to designate isolated, temporary, or partitioned areas without great expense.

A nurse listening to a child's heart. The child is laying on a hospital bed. To the side of them an EZE-Space™ Portable Room Divider is sectioning off a corner of the room.

4. Sustainability

Healthcare facilities have increasingly focused on sustainability. From LEED-certified hospital buildings to a daily focus on recycling, the entire industry is going green. Cleaning considerations can be an important part of your eco-efforts; materials that require less frequent cleaning or less toxic chemicals, have a lesser impact. 

Cubicle curtains hanging in between computer workstations.

Considerations When Planning Healthcare Facility Renovations and Updates

Choosing the right materials will give you the look you want, while simultaneously helping with your contamination prevention efforts - thus saving you time and money on cleaning and maintenance. 

1. Product Durability

Healthcare facilities are busy places. Many people and equipment move through nearly every space, often 24 hours a day - 7 days a week. Choosing building products made from extremely durable materials that stand up to harsh cleaning chemicals and are also uninhabitable to bacterial residents that reside on surfaces will ensure that your facility continues to look good, without requiring constant, costly maintenance and repairs. 

2. Chemical Resilience

The cleaning and disinfecting chemicals used in healthcare facilities are some of the harshest around. From chlorine bleach to hydrogen peroxide to alcohols, these chemicals can mark, fade, and even destroy certain materials, both instantly and through repeated use. Rather than having to replace damaged items, make sure that the products you choose will be resistant to commonly used chemicals. 

3. Antimicrobial Attributes

Beyond the ability to stand up to evolving cleaning processes, some materials can make cleaning processes easier and more effective. Antimicrobial attributes come in many forms, including products with non-porous surfaces that are minimally and inconspicuously seamed, and even materials whose composition inhibits the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria. 

Interested in more information on this topic? Review this recent industry roundtable, where business owners, designers, and manufacturers share how healthcare product designs are evolving to support infection control initiatives.

Consider These Solutions for Healthcare Facility Updates 

When choosing the products that will protect your lobbies, hallways, patient rooms, bathrooms, dining areas, and more, as mentioned above - it’s essential to make selections that will be easy to clean and maintain

High-traffic areas like lobbies, waiting rooms, and elevator interiors that have surprisingly high contamination levels, benefit from an investment in attractive and durable products. Areas that your patients may not see, like your operating rooms and other back of house areas, also deserve attention. Contamination prevention in these areas is paramount and requires frequent, thorough cleaning to accommodate short turn-over times. The overall result of choosing durable, resilient, and even antimicrobial products is a facility that keeps your staff and patients safe from the risk of contamination while looking great.

Several people sitting on an orange couch that is along a  wall in a healthcare facility.

You can count on Inpro’s solutions for cleaner surfaces. View our product guide for cleaner healthcare surfaces in this downloadable flyer.  

For spaces with flexible or temporary needs, cubicle curtain tracks that easily integrate with ceiling tiles make it simple for you to install dynamic dividers, complete with curtains that can be quickly unsnapped for cleaning or changing with affordable disposable options. Room dividers can also be a valuable solution for adaptable spaces, with a compact, collapsible design that makes them easy to move and store, while still offering a high level of sound absorption that provides a quiet environment.

Finally, it’s important to remember that these products can be effectively used outside of healthcare facilities. Any type of building or industry that is concerned with efficient contamination prevention can benefit from using hospital-grade products in public spaces. 

Learn more by downloading our Checklist: Safe Design for Healthcare Facilities and Infographic: Combat Contamination Hot Zones in Healthcare Buildings