Following the AGM in Brussels on 16 October, the EVHA was very pleased to be invited by Seppe Thys of Hamster Cleaning and Stefan Claeys, Facilities Director to visit the Imelda Ziekenhuis in Bonheiden, Belgium.
The Imelda is a large, 600-bed hospital in Flanders which has tackled ventilation system hygiene with a rolling programme of inspection and cleaning where necessary. Hospital facilities engineers, infection control specialists, cleaning and maintenance managers from all over Flanders were in attendance at the meeting.
Stefan Claeys explained the importance to the hospital of dealing with and preventing the unseen hazards which can cause infections, shutdowns and costly damage to the institution's reputation. Like many of us in maintenance, he decried the designer's typical preference for aesthetic solutions, forgetting the practicalities of cleaning and maintenance.
For these reasons, the hospital has invested in 'structural planning for a periodic cleaning of all ventilation', as well as ensuring that new build systems are installed clean in the first place.
Seppe Thys explained the measured approach taken by his company in partnership with the hospital. This is based on: Risk Analysis>Assessment (and consequent budgetting)>Cleaning>Reporting.
Our party of 35 people were kindly allowed to see examples of new build duct cleanliness inspection and of practical duct cleaning at the new Reception Centre and Mortuary respectively.
We, the EVHA, made a presentation on future guidance and standards in ventilation system cleanliness, which will be reported on in due course.
Lastly the meeting wrapped up with a fascinating presentation by Dr Annick Smismans, Clinical Microbiologist, on hospital hygiene and ventilation associated infections. The concluding take-away message was that 'Maintenance of all ventilation systems is essential in the hospital to prevent hospital related infections with high mortality rates'