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Selecting privacy screens: Top 6 tips

The link between patient privacy and infection control is nothing new, but events over the past 18 months have significantly upped the stakes when it comes to selecting patient privacy solutions for healthcare buildings.

Hospitals in particular are looking to put robust strategies in place for surge capacity during winter and at other times of peak need, without compromising on clinical infection control. As a result, many are considering the addition of solid-surface screens to their patient privacy toolkit.

Screens are an ideal solution for high-volume departments such as the ER, where the frequency of cubicle turnovers makes privacy curtains impractical – instead of removing and replacing a curtain, a solid-surface screen such as our CleanScreen product can simply be cleaned down using the same disinfectant protocols for floors, walls and furniture.

Screens are also preferable for room division, which enables hospitals to convert single-occupancy rooms into two-bed spaces during times of peak need, reducing the need to accommodate patients in hallways. So what should you be looking out for when selecting privacy screens for a hospital or residential care setting? Here’s our countdown of the top 6 points to consider:

6. Does the screen meet all requirements for hygiene and daily cleaning?

Patient privacy screens are the first line of defence against infection, forming a physical barrier to body fluids including aerosols that can spread bacteria and viruses. They are also a high-frequency touchpoint and shown to significantly contribute to the rate of hospital-acquired infection if they are not cleaned regularly. The screens you choose must be made from a material that is easy to clean, and that can withstand the effects of frequent disinfection using strong solutions that may contain chlorine and ammonia. It’s also vital that the screen’s design facilitates thorough cleaning, with as few dirt traps as possible – especially around the hinges and joins.

CleanScreen panels are moulded all in one piece from polyethylene so there are no seams or joins in the panels themselves. The 100% waterproof material is designedto withstand regular cleaning with your existing hard surface disinfectant, and the panels join using a unique hinge system with a 180-degree fold that offers maximum cleanability. The panels can also be fully dismantled and even immersed for terminal disinfection.

5. Is the screen versatile and easy to use?

Curtains have been the screen of choice in hospitals for generations because they’re a simple, no-fuss way to divide patient spaces – so when choosing a solid-surface screen, it’s vital that this ease of use is preserved. Staff in busy departments don’t have time to grapple with heavy, bulky or awkward privacy dividers, and it’s vital that these can be adapted for different applications at different times.

CleanScreen is a fully modular screen system that adapts to all kinds of uses. It’s available as a wall-mounted or free-standing option, with the free-standing screen supplied on heavy-duty, lockable castors for ease of transportation to any location in the hospital. Use it to create emergency patient spaces in multi-purpose areas, to split up single rooms, or even to bolster infection control in waiting areas as required.

4. Will the screen fit my space and store discreetly when not in use?

It’s rare for one size to fit all areas within the hospital environment so when choosing a privacy screen system, it’s critical that it can adapt to different locations with ease – and also that it doesn’t take up any unnecessary space, leaving plenty of room for vital equipment including ceiling lifts and clinical machinery.

CleanScreen is fully modular so you can add or remove panels to create a custom screen that fits any space and can be configured in a variety of ways to accommodate equipment and seating at the bedside. The unique hinge design means that CleanScreen folds back flat against the wall in seconds when it’s not in use, or when you need an open plan workspace, for example in trauma centres.

3. Does the screen meet the patient’s needs?

While patient privacy is an important factor in infection control, it’s also vital for patient wellbeing. Research shows that a lack of privacy can cause stress to hospital inpatients, which can have physiological effects including raised blood pressure and slower recovery. Therefore it’s important that any privacy screen you choose meets your patient’s needs for visual and auditory privacy.

CleanScreen extends to almost two metres in height with just a 10cm gap at floor level, providing superior privacy compared to most screens on the market. The solid PE panels deliver excellent auditory privacy and a feeling of increased security when compared to fabric dividers. The unique hinge design means that even when the screen’s panels are folded at an acute angle, there are no gaps in between, ensuring patient dignity is preserved at all times.

2. Will the screen improve our professional standards?

Patients aren’t the only ones who benefit from high-quality privacy standards within the hospital – staff do too. As well as protecting healthcare professionals from infection, good-quality privacy screens can help raise professional standards by making it much easier for your staff to deliver best-in-class care. This means making it easier to achieve gold-standard hygiene, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries associated with other types of privacy screen, and minimizing downtime by speeding up cubicle turnovers. These plus points have direct benefits for patients and can also reduce stress, increase job satisfaction and enhance performance for healthcare employees.

1. Is the screen future-proof?

The pandemic is an example of how quickly things can change in healthcare – in response to a crisis, we’ve seen a decade of progress on infection control happening in just a few short months. When investing in a new patient privacy system, it’s therefore vital to consider how it will fit in with your long-term strategy on privacy and whether it can deliver value for money over the next five or even 10 years. CleanScreen is an innovative privacy screen that’s designed to provide reliable performance for many years to come. The modular design means that even if buildings and layouts change, the screens can adapt accordingly and the simple design is both versatile and timeless.

Want to find out more?

Belroc is the exclusive distributor for CleanScreen in Canada and we would love to help you find out more about this innovative privacy system. For further information including a brochure, sample pack or even a live product demonstration, contact Dan Lawrenson.