• Hospitals

Hospitals are an important institution providing medical and surgical treatment, as well as nursing care for sick or injured people.

Ventilation is used extensively in healthcare premises for primary patient treatment in operating departments, intensive treatment units and isolation units. It is also installed to ensure compliance with quality assurance of manufactured items in pharmacy and sterile supply departments and to protect staff from harmful organisms and toxic substances, for example, in laboratories.

In general, separate ventilation systems should be provided for each department or group of similar departments, provided they are closely grouped together. Mechanical ventilation for hospitals needs to provide a high level of reliability, as the ventilation is critical to the proper functioning of the building and the business conducted within it. The consequential losses arising from failure can be very significant in this type of building.

Ventilation is essential in all occupied promises, with the following factors which determine the ventilation requirements of a department or area:

  • Human habitation (fresh air requirements)
  • The activities of the department that is extraction of odours, aerosols, gases, vapours, fumes and dust- some of which may be toxic, infectious, corrosive, flammable, or otherwise hazardous
  • Dilute and control airborne pathogenic material
  • Thermal comfort
  • The removal of heat generated by equipment, for e.g. in catering, wash-up and sterilising areas and in some laboratory areas
  • The reduction of the effects of solar heat gains
  • The reduction of excessive moisture levels to prevent condensation
  • Combustion requirements for fuel burning appliances
  • Make-up supply air, where local exhaust ventilation is installed

A lack of indoor air quality will inevitably affect everything within the hospital building, which in turn influences staff discomfort, thereby increasing the levels of staff dissatisfaction and inefficiency. Furthermore, the risk of infection can be transferred from one patient to another.

Ventilation systems should be all fresh air type, which assists in helping to protect patients and employees from air borne hazards, such as Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, generated as a result of patient care.

Protective ventilation measures are required in a variety of hospital room applications, from operating theatres, emergency treatment, nursery, critical and intensive care rooms to recovery, radiology, laboratories, X-ray and darkrooms, where patients are susceptible to contamination and infection.

Both foul and general extract systems can vary in complexity from a single wall mounted fan for each facility to a ducted air distribution system with dual extract fans.

Replacement air is either provided by a central supply system, or should enter the building through gaps in the structure or purpose made openings. Unless special precautions are taken, the latter may result in an unacceptable level of draughts occurring in winter, and possible risk of unacceptable levels of noise transmission. If individual systems are used, the ventilation can be operated intermittently, provided it continues to run for at least 15 or 20 minutes after the room is vacated, as with light switch operated fans in individual toilets.

If general exhaust systems are used, it is recommended that filtered and tempered replacement air is provided via a central supply plant to adjoining lobbies or corridors, to prevent the risk of discomfort caused by the ingress of cold air.

A wide variety of environmental conditions are required for these applications, as well as the provision of ventilation for ancillary facilities such as restaurants, offices, public toilets and cafes, which should be accommodated with a mechanical ventilation system.

It is a general requirement for hospitals and health care buildings to have an overall positive or neutral pressure and the extracted air replaced by treated make up air supplied to, for example, internal areas such as staff bases in ward areas.

In operating theatres, for example, surgical operations and intervention at procedures are performed with various levels of bacteriological control, with the airflow and ventilation particularly important in operating theatres to:

  • Control the space temperature and humidity
  • Assist the removal of and dilute waste anaesthetic gases
  • Dilute airborne bacterial contamination
  • Control air movement for minimising the transfer of airborne bacteria

Each operating theatre suite should ideally be provided with its own plant but it is accepted practice to have a zoned common air handling unit serving two adjacent suites. There are many examples where common air handling plant has been provided for an entire operating department which, in the event of plant failure or maintenance shut down, will render the whole department inoperative.

Ventilation is provided in healthcare premises for the comfort of the occupants in the buildings. More specialised ventilation will also provide comfort but its prime function will be to closely control the environment and air movement of the space that it serves in order to contain, control and reduce hazards to patients and staff from airborne contaminants.

Elta Fans provide a wide range of ventilation products for hospitals and health care buildings, from air handling systems to extract fans, all designed to provide the precise specifications to meet the necessary ventilation requirements for greater comfort in the hospital patient care environment. So for more information, please look at examples of typical products that could be used for these applications, or alternatively, please contact us to discuss your specific application requirement.