Ventilation Requirements for Healthy Hospitals
The Joint Commission (TJC) and NFPA have set stringent requirements for hospitals to keep their patients, employees, and visitors safe. One of these requirements includes ventilation in the entire building and all areas considered to be hazardous.
In regards to ventilation, hospital rooms are required to be either positively or negatively pressurized, with respect to the neighboring areas. AirFixture Underfloor Air Distribution Solutions help hospitals fulfil these requirements by installing underfloor ventilation systems that meet all the standards that TJC and NFPA have set.
A positively pressurized room prevents airborne pathogens from contaminating a patient, equipment or medical supplies in that room. Extra air is usually pumped into these rooms to push contaminants away. For negatively pressurized rooms, air is usually sucked out of the rooms. This is done to pull any potential contaminants out of an area, and the contaminants are exhausted to the outside air, through the roof.
As part of the TJC requirements, hospital rooms should be tested and documented to confirm whether they meet their rating as either positively or negatively pressurized. Tissue test is a basic pre-screening test which is often used to determine if any further investigation is required.
A room is negative if the tissue is drawn into the room, and positive if the tissue is blown away from the room. A team of professional inspectors uses specialized equipment to measure the relative pressures, volumes and air exchanges.
An example for a room with negative pressure would be a patient with active Tuberculosis. In this scenario, the germs are sucked out of the room and exhausted, but not spread around the hospital. On the other hand, positive pressure is required for patients with open wound or burns. This prevents pathogens in the hospital from getting to the patient.
A life safety surveyor notes the deficiency if a particular room is not compliant with the TJC’s set standards. With these set standards in place, ventilation requirements can become an issue. An issue could be filtration, air pressure and air changes in critical areas. Positively pressured rooms are considered the cleanest rooms in a hospital.