Ventilation in Hospitals

As a facility manager, you understand that ventilation plays a critical role in maintaining indoor air quality, especially in healthcare facilities such as hospitals. Ventilation in hospitals is the process of exchanging indoor air with outdoor air to improve the quality of indoor air. It is essential to maintain adequate air change rates to ensure a healthy indoor environment for patients, staff, and visitors.

Importance of Good Ventilation

Here are three main points to consider regarding the importance of ventilation in hospitals for optimal indoor air quality:

Removal of contaminants:

Proper ventilation in hospitals helps to remove harmful contaminants, such as airborne viruses, bacteria, and pollutants, from indoor air. This is particularly important in hospitals, where airborne pathogens can cause infections and diseases.

According to a peer-reviewed study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, increasing ventilation rates in hospitals can reduce the transmission of airborne diseases and infections among patients and staff.

Regulation of humidity:

Ventilation in hospitals also helps to regulate the humidity levels in indoor air, which can affect indoor air quality. High humidity levels can lead to the growth of mold, mildew, and other fungi, which can cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions.

Research conducted by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) suggests that maintaining proper humidity levels through effective ventilation can improve indoor air quality and prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms.

Removal of odors:

Proper ventilation can help to remove odors and maintain a fresh indoor environment. In healthcare facilities such as hospitals, odors can be particularly unpleasant and can even affect patient recovery.

According to a study published in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, increasing ventilation in hospitals reduces the concentration of foul odors and improves the overall indoor air quality.

Managing Ventilation in Hospitals

As you know, we cannot manage what we don’t  measure. Therefore, a good management plan for ventilation in hospital must start with assessing the HVAC system. Then, using the data, prioritize corrective action to improve or maintain the HVAC system. After all, the “V” in HVAC stands for ventilation!

Assessing the HVAC

An HVAC conditions assessment lets you know exactly what you are dealing with. It goes beyond the age, make and model of the air handing unit. When an HVAC conditions assessment is specified to check ventilation in hospitals it needs to survey the following categories:

  • Physical Conditions
  • Performance
  • Environmental State

ASHRAE 62.1, section 8, is very clear on the types of evaluations and frequency they need to occur. Once the data is gathered, a clear plan emerges for corrective action.

HVAC Cleaning and Restoration

Compliant ventilation in hospitals depends on HVAC equipment that is clean and well maintained. Following the guidance provided by ASHRAE and HVAC conditions assessments, equipment will need to be cleaned and restored.  There are three main service types that restore the mechanical inventory’s performance.

Each of these services works with the other to bring the entire system to optimal cleanliness and performance. More than cleaning, HVAC restoration effectively re-commissions the equipment with cleaning, high-performance coatings and new technology upgrades, like ECM Fan Array retrofits.

In conclusion, adequate ventilation is critical for maintaining indoor air quality in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. By removing contaminants, regulating humidity levels, and eliminating unpleasant odors, ventilation can help to create a healthy indoor environment for patients, staff, and visitors. For more information please contact us at 1-800-422-7873 or via the web here.

References:

1. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (2015). Ventilation in Healthcare Facilities. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2015-115/

2. ASHRAE. (2018). Indoor Air Quality Guide: Best Practices for Design, Construction, and Commissioning. Retrieved from https://www.ashrae.org/technical-resources/bookstore/indoor-air-quality-guide

3. Chen, C. et al. (2019). The impact of increased ventilation rates on reducing odors and airborne pathogens in a hospital setting. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 69(11), 1309-1319.