Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Acoustic Flooring Solutions for Health Care and Education Facilities

Children running up stairs in a school with rubber flooring

Facility design elements are crucial in allowing building residents to experience and utilize the space in a healthy and productive manner. Healthcare facilities need to support concerns of fatigue, health, and safety, as well as address worker efficiency, environmental considerations, and acoustics. In a similar vein, the design of educational facilities should encourage learning and exploration while minimizing distractions for students and faculty.
Although education and healthcare facilities have marked differences in their built environments, they both benefit from building designs which muffle sound.

Create a Healing Environment

Noise is ever-present in the health care environment and can have a direct and measurable impact on patient health and satisfaction, staff productivity and ultimately impact operational reimbursements. The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, which provides results related to a patient’s experience of care, found noise to be the number two pain point for health systems in patient satisfaction scores in the hospital environment. Moreover, excessive noise disturbances can affect a patient’s ability to heal, potentially increasing the need for medication and impacting overall length of stay.
There are three contributing factors to disseminating sound in a space: the wall, the floor, and the ceiling. Research published in The Journal of Acoustical Society of America suggests that hospitals battle with noise and “chronic physiological changes are linked to a bad sound environment.” Health care facilities use hard surfaces to support infection control, such as drywall ceilings and acoustic wall panels. Unfortunately, these surfaces can be difficult to effectively clean and disinfect. Facility managers must select flooring that supports hygiene as well as acoustics.
As a structural component that covers every square inch of a building, the right flooring product can have an actionable impact on patient satisfaction, operational optimization, clinical efficiency, and total cost of ownership. Premium rubber flooring is a solution that can improve acoustics with reduced footfall sound and improve safety and cleanliness through its wasability. With low-maintenance requirements, rubber flooring allows for quick, quiet and nondisruptive cleaning, supporting a calm healing environment without compromising the integrity of perceived cleanliness.

Boost Concentration

The environment in which students learn can have a positive or negative effect on educational outcomes. A basic component of the learning environment is the ability to hear and be heard clearly. According to the Acoustical Society of America, many classrooms nationwide have a speech intelligibility rating of 75 percent or less, far below the recommended 95 percent. Furthermore, the noise levels in a typical classroom average 65 decibels, which is the threshold for serious health damage with long-term exposure.
Poor acoustics in educational facilities can lead to lower academic performance, fatigue, annoyance and stress. Schools and universities have the opportunity to evaluate sound-absorbing ceiling tiles and acoustical wall panels in their overall acoustical solutions. In addition to using these noise-mitigation measures, a third-party study found premium rubber flooring is up to four times quieter than vinyl composite tile.

Make Acoustics a Priority

The findings of the "in room" impact room study quantified how hard and soft flooring materials can impact the acoustic environment, allowing facility mangers to make informed decisions when selecting flooring materials. The study evidenced a significant degree of acoustical separation between 10 different floor coverings by using various impactors as noise sources. Results show the 4 mm premium rubber acoustic flooring provides greater or equitable “in-room” noise reductions as compared to carpet and the best reduction in impact noise from small falling objects.
“Noise is an adverse auditory event, it is neither benign nor considered neutral,” said Susan Mazer, PhD, founder of Healing HealthCare Systems Floor coverings can mitigate unwanted ambient noise and have a favorable impact on a building’s occupants, fostering health, wellness, learning and operational outcomes.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

3 Technologies to Eliminate Germs from High-Touch Surfaces

high touch technology
Contamination of high-touch surfaces is responsible for the transmission of pathogens in various settings. Its impact is most severe in school and health care facilities and is one reason why health care-associated infections (HAIs) continue to be such a serious problem.
Although the number of HAIs has been steadily decreasing in the United States, "on any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one health care-associated infection," according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In school environments, contaminated surfaces not only spread disease within classrooms but also can spread infections, such as influenza, within a community.
The professional cleaning industry plays a crucial role in stopping the spread of infection, but before cleaning staff can eliminate pathogens, they must first find them. In the past, laboratory technicians would swab surfaces and use a petri dish culture to confirm the presence of pathogens. The findings would not be available for two to four days, giving the germs opportunity to sicken more people.
Technological advances are providing quicker methods to locate pathogens, enabling the professional cleaning industry to better meet its goal of protecting human health. While these technologies have drawbacks, they do show promise.
Prove Contamination With Paper Stickers
In May 2019, a report in the Journal of the American Society for Microbiology found that paper stickers can be an effective tool to determine if contamination exists on surfaces. For up to seven days, researchers placed stickers on multiple high-touch surfaces in food service locations. After analyzing the stickers, the researchers found they revealed a considerable buildup of contamination on these surfaces.
Paper stickers are an inexpensive, simple, and effective method to locate contamination. However, the analyzation process takes valuable time, and the stickers only pick up pathogens on the area tested, not the surrounding area.

ATP Marks the Spot
Although adenosine triphosphate (ATP) has been in use since the 1930s, it was first introduced to the cleaning industry about a decade ago. ATP monitoring systems detect living cells on a surface. Users simply swab a surface then place the swab inside the ATP unit. Results are usually available in about 20 seconds.
While ATP does not reveal which specific pathogens are on a surface, it serves as a red flag that they may be present. Cleaning professionals use ATP to test a surface before cleaning and again after cleaning to determine cleaning effectiveness. However, like paper stickers, ATP only detects pathogens on the specific areas tested.
Imaging Paints a Wide Picture
The health care industry, one of the first industries to use imaging technology, found it useful to find the growth of cancer and other abnormalities in the human body. In the professional cleaning industry, workers use imaging technologies in schools, food service facilities, and health care settings to take pictures of a wide area. These pictures indicate if pathogens are present based on the color, intensity, and concentration of images shown. 
While the obvious reason for using technologies like the ones mentioned above is to quickly find and remove pathogens, cleaning professionals should be aware that there is something much bigger at play here.
Taking Responsibility for Infection Control
Many germs are developing into superbugs that spread diseases immune to the medications used to treat them. Pharmaceutical companies have set a limited amount of time and money in developing new antimicrobials. This puts greater responsibility on the cleaning industry's shoulders to find and proactively eradicate harmful pathogens. With these technologies and the implementation of effective cleaning methods, we will be up to the challenge.

Article by Cleaning & Maintenance Management.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Spot/ Stain Removal 101

Follow these 6 steps to remove a spot or stain effectively.

1. Identify the type of spot or stain.
2. Identify the correct detergent for treatment.
3. Make sure you have the correct tools needed to get the task done.
4. Sparingly apply spotting detergent and tamp into the area.
5. Blot area with a white towel.
6. Rinse and dry.

Article by Cleaning & Maintenance Management.