Washbasins get full redesign to help fight in-hospital infection

Published 19 June 2017

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: design, medical, materials, healthcare, bathroom, ceramics, nhs

Armitage Shanks has redesigned the washbasin for hospitals, as it looks to help reduce the £1B bill the NHS faces due to the cost of infections contracted after hospital visits

A clinical ceramics range has been developed in response to the evolving threats in hospitals and significantly push forward hygiene innovation and bacterial prevention, helping reduce opportunities for bacteria to grow throughout hospitals.

Armitage Shanks, a British commercial bathroom products company, has been working in partnership with leading scientists and specialists to develop its two new healthcare solutions, reacting to the UK Parliament report that 300,000 people contract a healthcare associated infection after a hospital visit, creating a £1 billion additional care cost for the NHS.

The new Markwik 21+ fittings and Contour 21+ clinical ceramics ranges address the issues of pooling and water stagnation with clever design, materials and a view to improve maintenance.

The special fin in at the bottom of the Countour 21+ sink bowl dramatically reduces splashing

The Countour 21+ features an innovative fin on the base of the bowl, which deflects splashing and reduces it by over 90 per cent, something we first saw from Armitage Shanks parent company Ideal Standard when it designed a splashless urinal back in 2012.

Research shows a high level of splashing occurs when taps run into clinical basins, spreading bacteria and viruses into the air, onto the face, clothing and the surrounding area, such as hospital beds.

An integral SmartGuard antimicrobial additive protection reduces the threat of cross-contamination and helps keep surfaces clean and hygienic across their lifetime, while an ultra-smooth glaze has been designed to make it more difficult for bacteria to cling to the surface.

The basin helps avoid water pooling using a simple waste assembly, to ensure water drains instantly and vertically through a smooth pipe system, free of steps or hanging points.

Mixer taps and fittings have been identified as a potential risk area where bacteria can grow. Pseudomonas Aeruginosa present a particular threat up to 2 metres back from the outlet. Legionella can grow where water stagnates in pipes and fittings.

Markwik 21+ mixer tap features narrow bore pipes and limited use of polymers

The Markwik 21+ design has been developed to reduce materials that bacteria can feed on, reducing the amount of water left in taps after use and more options to cleanse fittings either by thermal cleanse procedures or the complete dismantling of fittings for disinfection.

Almost entirely free of polymers - instead containing glass, brass and antimicrobial copper components - the faucet set up minimises the likelihood of Pseudomonas infection and other growths, while waterways are reduced in size reducing the amount of water left in tap by 34 per cent.

A manual thermal flush feature allows maintenance staff or an electronic control box to override the thermostat and flush the fitting through with hot water to help reduce bacteria deposits, maximising the antimicrobial effect.

Even simple things, such as increasing the pressure and turbulence in a pipe by narrowing the bore, serve to reduce biomaterial build ups (preferred locations for bacteria) in the pipes.

Added to the component design is the time required to fit the range - allowing all parts to be swiftly removed or swapped, and a full set up to be put in place by a single installation engineer in 7 minutes.

The launch of the new healthcare ranges comes as Armitage Shanks celebrates its 200-year anniversary this year.

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