Hospital Air Monitoring

Andrew Streifel, Hospital Environmental Specialist based at Fairview University Medical Center in Minnesota, said for hospital environmental monitoring, "It is necessary to put in place 'proper, prudent prac-tice' (PPP). Then, if there is a problem, you can prevent jeopardizing both the health of patients and employees and avoid lawsuits and insurance premium adjustments."

To implement PPP, he has a three-step infection control risk assessment plan. First, recognize the risk. Second, implement a control process including air change, pressure differentials and filtration. Third, air sample to verify air change, pressure differentials and filtration.

A 14-year veteran of hospital air sampling, Streifel suggests two procedures in air sampling. First, document a baseline of air quality in the operating room before it is opened, in the case of new construction, or when it is unoccupied in an established facility. This baseline, he says, should be checked once a month. Second, the baseline should be used for comparison air sampling in areas outside the hospital as well as interior areas including the lobby, corridors, patients' rooms and nurses' stations.

"In comparison air sampling, " he said, "you should see a rank order from clean (the outside) to cleaner (interior spaces other than the operating room) to cleanest (the operating room)."


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