The importance of respecting air quality in hospitals

Air quality is in itself important in any establishment to limit the risk of contamination due to bacteria present in the air. It is even more so in hospitals, where the lives of patients are at stake. What regulations are in place? What are the standards to be met? Explanations in this article.

Two main reasons to respect air quality in hospitals

For obvious reasons, respecting air quality is essential in hospitals.

The first is the prevention of possible contamination by the air which can lead in the most serious cases to nosocomial infections, infections which occur in a patient after his operation or his hospitalization. Nosocomial infections can be accompanied by serious complications and controlling air quality can partially prevent nosocomial infections.

A second reason is to guarantee a good working environment for the employees of the establishment and to ensure the well-being of the occupants, patients and visitors.

Regulations according to the zones

Vigilance with regard to air treatment is very important in a hospital environment. A few technical terms are worth knowing.

The renewal rate is the frequency at which all the air in a room is renewed (calculated in cycles/h). The PNC means "particles giving rise to colonies", it is a threshold to be respected: PNC/m3. Conventional rooms must respect a threshold of less than 200 PNC/3. It is also important to remember that not all areas of the establishment present the same risk of infection. There are four zones and for each zone an air filtration system should be considered.

Risk zones 1 and 2

The areas classified as risk 1 and 2 are the recovery rooms, conditioning rooms, sterilization rooms, the emergency department, the work rooms and the corridors. For rooms in zones 1 and 2, a turbulent flow filtration system is commonly used, it guarantees a renewal rate.

Risk zones 3

The areas classified as risk 3 relate to patient care in the obstetrics, intensive care, vascular, digestive and endoscopy departments. For areas at risk 3 a low speed ceiling filtration system is considered.

Risk zones 4

Areas classified as risk 4, the highest, concern the surgical care of patients in the orthopaedics, ophthalmology, transplant, severe burns, neurology and cardiology departments. For areas at risk 4 a laminar flow system is envisaged, it guarantees a renewal rate of 600 cycles/h.

Safety standards to be observed in hospitals

Among the most demanding standards that must imperatively be respected, there are mainly 4 four.

The NF S 90-381 standard

It specifies the health safety requirements for air treatment and control installations in hospitals, covering the design, construction, operation, maintenance and use of the installations. The standard specifies the performance values ​​of the installations according to the level of the level of risk of the zones and covers all of the health establishments.

ISO 14698 standard

It establishes the basic principles of a bio-contamination control system and specifies the methods required to ensure monitoring of risk areas, in less risky areas the standard has more informative value.

ISO 14644 standard

It specifies the classification of the air cleanliness of clean rooms and areas in terms of the concentration of airborne particles. This standard notably sets the PNC/m3 thresholds to be respected for particles larger than 0.1 µm.

EN 13053 standard

It specifies the regulations in terms of the energy efficiency of installations.

Facilities to be set up in a medical environment

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