Integral Blinds in Lieu of Cubicle Curtains
In 2013, a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control found that 37% of hospital facilities launder privacy curtains only when they are visibly soiled, however 92% of hospital privacy curtains are contaminated one week after laundering. And the research becomes more alarming when you consider the types of contaminates: 42% of hospital privacy curtains in the study were contaminated with vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and 22% with MRSA4.
Given that one MRSA infection costs $47,000-53,000 on average, and a typical 200-bed hospital incurs $1,779,283 in annual MRSA infection-related expenses per year, we recommended, and the hospital agreed, that the upfront building cost of incorporating integral blinds ($5,083 per room) was worth the expense. As clinical quality and safety move to the forefront of inpatient priorities under the Affordable Care Act, this feature is an excellent example of using evidence to guide investment.