PRH Receives Antimicrobial Copper Grant

Dec 11, 2013

Pullman Regional Hospital was recently awarded a grant for $10,000 to incorporate antimicrobial copper into high-touch surfaces to further prevent and control infections.

The grant, awarded by the Copper Development Association Inc., funds the installation of copper components in the form of door plates and handles, IV poles, chair arms, cabinet handles, and other frequently touched surfaces having the potential to harbor bacteria.

Copper-alloy surfaces have natural intrinsic properties proven to destroy infectious bacteria. According to Copper Development Association Inc., Pullman Regional Hospital is one of just a few hospitals in the nation to implement copper in infection control.
"This is a great additional tool to help fight infections," said Connie Koal, R.N., Infection Prevention & Employee Health Coordinator. "Pullman Regional Hospital is an early adopter of this proven technology because of our commitment to patient safety."

Together, Koal and Ed Harrich, R.N., Director of Pullman Regional Hospital Surgical Services, sought out the grant. "Our hospital infection rate is very low, but we want to make every effort to achieve zero," said Harrich.

While it will not and should not replace routine cleaning, unlike disinfectants, copper continually fights pathogenic organisms 24/7.

The visible difference in a copper door handle may only be a slight reddish tint; however, antimicrobial copper fights deadly bacteria like Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), E. coli, Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE), Enterobacter aerogenes, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

"You might not even notice your IV pole or the bathroom door handle is copper, but we know we're providing a safe environment for our patients, their family, and our staff, on the microscopic level," said Harrich.

Harold T. Michels, Senior Vice President of Technology & Technical Services with Copper Development Association Inc. said Pullman Regional Hospital was awarded this grant because of a demonstrated commitment to innovation. "We want to work with hospitals that take the initiative to reduce infections, cut care costs, and save lives," said Michels.

Date Posted: December 11, 2013
Contact: Alison Weigley, Community Relations Coordinator
Pullman Regional Hospital

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