Could This Germ-Fighting Material Cut Hospital Infections?
Hospital-acquired infections are a serious, but often preventable, threat to patient safety, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers at the University of Leeds in England have developed a new approach to fighting these infections: a material that disinfects itself and helps hand stay clean.
Called Surfaceskins, the material has been in development for seven years. It’s designed to replace aluminum “push” plates on hospital doors. Antibacterial pads dispense a small amount of alcohol gel, disinfecting the surface before the next person pushes the door open. Antibacterial door handles have also been developed.
A study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection suggests Surfaceskins door pads are more effective than standard door plates in reducing bacteria that commonly cause hospital-acquired infections. Surfaceskins incorporates three separate nonwoven materials and is designed to be replaced after seven days or one thousand pushes, whichever occurs sooner. According to researchers, the device provides an extra line of defense against germs by helping clean hands stay clean.