Archive Surgical Construction 2019

Make Your ORs Infection Proof

There are plenty of ways to build bacteria-free zones when you're working with a clean slate.

Joe Paone

BIO

ELBOW GREASE
Pamela Bevelhymer, RN, BSN, CNOR
ELBOW GREASE Even the hardest working staff members might not cover every inch of the OR during room turnovers.

Brand-new ORs feel clean, don’t they? The floor squeaks, the walls shine and those expensive LED lights hanging over the soon-to-be sterile field don’t pick up a speck of dust.

It’s a picture-perfect scene worthy of appearing in marketing brochures and surgical magazines. Enjoy it while it lasts. Bacteria is waiting to grow on the room’s shiny new surfaces and airborne contaminants are hanging around to settle onto instruments, incisions and implants. It’s important to consider the following factors as you’re designing an OR to keep the bugs at bay because the plans you put on paper will face the ultimate test as soon as the first patient arrives.

1 Safe storage

ORs are designed to be positively pressurized to prevent infiltration of airborne particulate into the room or, worse, into the sterile field. But if the OR’s main door is opened, room air can escape into the adjoining hallway, causing the air pressure in the OR to drop. That pressure drop disrupts the regular currents of the laminar flow, potentially causing airborne contaminants to settle in the sterile field. Installing built-in cabinets or investing in mobile storage units to ensure often-used supplies are always within arm’s reach will help limit foot traffic into and out of ORs.

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