Infectious pathogens and healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) are documented challenges in long-term care facility communities. Robust ventilation and air purification systems are a critical component of a successful campaign against airborne pathogens in long-term care facilities.
Recently, a study published in the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences spotlighted the importance of a new, advanced, clean-air technology.1 The authors successfully demonstrated that advanced air purification technology (AAPT) improved patient care and facility quality. In the study, Urrutia and colleagues analyzed three months of data from two floors in a Pennsylvania long-term care facility with rooftop HVAC units, terminal air conditioners, and unit ventilators. One floor, the control floor, was measured with the standard high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration with new filters installed. The second was the same, except it added an advanced system containing a proprietary filter media combination plus high-dose ultraviolet germicidal irradiation. The powerful result of this study was a statistically significant decrease in pathogens, leading to an approximate 40% reduction of HAIs during the study period.
Advanced filtration media have been shown to achieve reductions of approximately 90% in biological and chemical containments.2 Rather than simply altering the air stream, advanced filtration utilizes electrostatic attraction to exploit electrostatic interactions between particles and filtration media.3 Optimizing the filter structure and improving electrostatic interactions combined with UV germicidal irradiation has demonstrated near 100% reductions in biological and chemical contaminants.4
The study recommendations call for reviewing current facility ventilation systems and strongly urge facilities to consider adding advanced purification systems to their buildings.1 The results have shown a dramatic decrease in surface contaminants in most areas of the facility. Proper air filtration is already understood to be essential, but employing advanced filtration offers additional reductions in infectious disease transmission, which directly correlates to improvement in overall patient and facility health quality.