As COVID-19 continues to surge, it really highlights the importance of health and safety measures in our buildings, and more so in aged care buildings. The demand for antimicrobial finishes has never been higher. With resistant bacteria on the rise, we need to protect residents against the threat of infection and one way is with antimicrobial surfaces that work by preventing microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses) from adhering to a surface and destroying the microorganisms they come into contact with.
Surfaces serve as a reservoir for potential pathogens, which are able to survive for weeks in temperate surroundings. Pathogens may be controlled by cleaning and decontamination practices, but these practices do not necessarily eliminate all risk. It is fair to say that replacing surfaces with antimicrobial products might offer an additional safeguard when there are cleaning deficits. Such coatings provide an alternative to the daily rigors of cleaning and could even temper the debate over how cleaning should be done.
In Australia, the death rate attributed to infectious diseases has increased, prompting design professionals to consider how building design can deliver enhanced levels of health and hygiene. In aged-care facilities, the use of antimicrobial surfaces inhibits bacterial growth and addresses one of most common ways infection is spread-via surfaces.
Laminates and surfaces are a great example of interior materials and fixtures that have been refined over time to prevent the spread of disease in healthcare and aged care environments.
Antimicrobial surfaces which are solvent free, are extremely low in VOC’s and odourless, are the best option for residential care facilities. The benefits of specifying a material that is antimicrobial at the manufacturing stage, rather than treated in situ is important because down time is kept to a minimum. This is particularly important in residential care settings, where disruption and confusion can be detrimental to the well-being of the resident.