Where There’s Splash, There Could Be Infection

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A sink is a common fixture for sanitation. However, in the healthcare setting, a sink that’s poorly-designed can have unhealthy—and sometimes critical—consequences.

Studies show that one in every 20 hospitalized patients will contract an HAI (healthcare-associated infection). Sink splash is on the list of culprits. Here’s why.

When a shallow basin is present in a room, sink contaminants can splash from the drain onto surfaces and supplies. These HAI-causing germs can live for months, and can be easily contracted by the patient who may already have a weakened immune system.  It helps if the drain and faucet are offset, but while this design is recommended, it’s seldom implemented.

It’s odd to think a droplet can do so much damage, but it can. In fact, HAIs are among the leading causes of preventable deaths and are associated with a substantial increase in annual healthcare costs.

The need to reduce sink splash at its source was one of many design considerations of the Compass System. Some of these features are designed to address the physics of how water acts. The sink has an angled spout and raised hump at its front, both of which aid in preventing splash. Since it’s a modular system, it makes it easier to provide a gap to separate wet and dry surfaces.  The sink’s position, set at a lower height than the work surface, also helps separate wet from dry, as well as provide a more comfortable height for hand washing.

Speaking of hand washing, the sink is also designed to address the psychology of humans.  The faucet is autosensing and automixing, which encourages hands-free use. And anything that makes it easier for healthcare workers to wash their hands is hard on HAIs. Also, the rim and deck of the sink are sloped to discourage people from placing objects there that can become contaminated when someone uses the sink.

Each of these design features taken on its own may not make a difference in HAIs, but together they are showing to be very effective. In a recent simulation, the features of the Compass System reduced splash by 65 to 75 percent compared to other sink and faucet combinations.

To learn more about how its components aid in infection prevention, click here.