Altro is addressing safety and hygiene issues in sensitive healthcare environments with floor and wall systems that assist with maintaining aseptic conditions.

The modern healthcare industry has evolved to place greater demand for superior levels of hygiene, infection control, patient safety and efficiency especially in operating rooms. Surfaces are not only required to be safe, hygienic and easy to clean but also resistant to most chemicals and staining. Durability is another important consideration with surfaces required to have excellent impact resistance to heavy traffic from moving trolleys and other mobile equipment.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reveals that hundreds of millions of patients are affected by healthcare-associated infections globally, with seven per cent of patients in developed countries acquiring at least one. In high-income countries, approximately 30% of patients in intensive care units are affected by at least one hospital-acquired infection, resulting in increased risk to the patient, longer recovery time in the hospital, and financial losses for health systems.

Hand hygiene plays an important role in reducing the risk of infections such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), making it imperative for hospitals to ensure the environment that patients and staff come into contact with is always hygienic. The constant movement of patients means that hospitals are a potential breeding ground for bacteria, which is evolving to become more resilient to antibiotics, increasing the need for wall cladding that is hygienic and easy to clean.

Altro Whiterock has been tested in accordance with ISO 22196, which shows that MRSA will not survive on its surface.

The American Institute of Architects recommends that floor and wall finishes should be free of fissures, open joints or crevices that may retain or permit the passage of dirt and particles. By retaining moisture, these areas provide a breeding ground for bacteria. Altro Whiterock, an impervious, fully bonded wall cladding ensures that minimal moisture is present on surfaces, reducing the risk of bacterial growth.

Altro Whiterock’s internal and external angles are thermoformed on site, avoiding the need for unsightly corner trims, which eventually become dirt traps and are difficult to clean. Thermoformed corners and angles provide a much more hygienic surface than the grouted joints associated with tiles, which require an aggressive cleaning regime. Thermoformed corners maintain the same level of impact resistance as the standard product, which is particularly important as corners tend to receive the most knocks.

Altro has designed a fully integrated system to make cleaning and maintenance easier for healthcare environments. The combination of Altro Safety Flooring and Altro Whiterock wall cladding will help create a watertight and fully sealed environment that minimises bacterial growth. The fully integrated solution from Altro eliminates gaps or rough edges, ensuring a smooth, uninterrupted surface even around plug sockets, light switches and corners.

Image: Rush University Medical Centre, Chicago, IL featuring Altro Whiterock (Firm: Perkins & Will; Photography: Dave Burke @ Hedrich Blessing Photographers)