require regular disinfection since germs from patients often harbor on these
surfaces. In the absence of adequate precautions, germs from one patient or a
healthcare worker can pass to another. Hospital-acquired infections, called nosocomial infections, are particularly difficult to treat,
since the bacteria often showing resistance to usual antibiotics, and
significantly add to the cost of treatment.
It is also not very pleasant
for patients who go to a hospital for the treatment of one condition, and
instead come back with an additional infection.
‘Doorplates that release alcohol on slight pressure could help to reduce surface contamination and the spread of hospital-acquired infections.
Doorplates in hospitals
are a potential source of infection since nearly everyone, patients as well as
healthcare workers, who pass through a door touches it with his/her hand. To
reduce the chances of contamination, a new type of doorplate has been designed
that has a pad covered with a special membrane and releases alcohol gel from a
reservoir on slight pressure. The alcohol cleans the surface as well as comes
on to the hand. The disposable pad has to be changed every seven days or after
thousand uses, whichever is earlier.
Scientists tested the
new doorplates to check their effectiveness in reducing hospital-acquired
alcohol-releasing doorplates could reduce the spread of hospital-acquired
- The scientists assessed the bacteria on the middle
three fingers of health care workers by randomly asking them to dab their
fingers into a bacterial culture medium. Four bacteria were found to be
common, S. aureus, E. coli, E. faecalis and C.
- Scientists introduced bacteria on the alcohol-releasing
doorplates as well as normal aluminum doorplates, and assessed the
bacterial counts on days 0, 3, 4, 6 and 7. They found that the
alcohol-releasing device significantly reduced the levels of three types
of bacteria, S. aureus, E. coli and E. faecalis but not C.difficile.
The bacteria showed regrowth by the seventh day, which indicates that the
pads need to be replaced every seven days.
The technology may be useful outside healthcare as well. For example, it could
be particularly useful in washrooms or even restaurants, where high levels of
hygiene need to be maintained.
The scientists also
reiterate that though this method can reduce the spread of infection, there is
no substitute for regular methods of hand sanitization in hospitals like the
use of alcohol hand dispensers. It would also be necessary to inform users and
put instructions regarding the special doorplates, since people may be
uncomfortable about the curious liquid coming on to their hands when they try
to open a door.
- E.L. Best, P. Parnell, M.H. Wilcox. The potential of alcohol release doorplates to reduce surface contamination during hand contact. The Journal of Hospital Infection. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2017.07.027