Designing, installing and maintaining the openings in a healthcare facility is no simple task, but there is one way to make it easier. Standardizing on solutions from a single provider will ensure that you have more control over your openings. You will become more efficient in your installation and maintenance activities; key systems will be easier to manage, and you’ll notice smoother performance of your electronic access control and electrified door hardware. The results will be less maintenance and far more reliable performance.
Hospital doors used day in and day out withstand constant use and potential problems may not always be obvious. These may be products that aren’t functioning correctly and devices that just need a little maintenance to keep things running smoothly.
Here are a few issues that should be identified and addressed immediately.
- Latches that don’t engage, preventing doors from properly closing and locking (and don’t meet safety ratings)
- Malfunctioning closers that cause the door to slam shut or not close completely, as well as closers that don’t have covers or are leaking oil
- Corroded or worn hinges that don’t allow doors to open or close smoothly, including hinges pulling from the door frame causing binding
- Poor quality exit devices that can catch on clothing and carts, including damaged or missing end caps and missing or bent bottom rods
- Faulty power transfers that can prevent the use of credentials for entry
- Loose door hardware that can eventually break or inhibit easy use of the door
- Wall magnets that are loose, shoved into the drywall or malfunctioning so that electronics don’t work and doors end up being propped open.
Quiet Hardware: In areas used for patient care and staff concentration, the overall reduction of auditory disturbances is very important. Specially designed quiet latches and sound reducing exit devices can help. By incorporating exit devices with dampers that decelerate the mechanical push pads on the push and return stroke and motor-driven electronic latches, most noise associated with traditional exit devices is eliminated. Using a concealed vertical cable system eliminates the rattles of rods in the door and the clanking of rods on the floor.
Hinges: Healthcare facility doors get extremely heavy use. Doors that sag in their frames may be the result of faulty hinges. Continuous hinges provide support for the entire length of the door or pivot hinges that support the door at the top and bottom.
Antimicrobial Coatings: Infection control is another hot topic. Hospitals can leverage ActivClean™ door hardware made with CuVerro® antimicrobial copper surfaces. ActivClean proactively protects hospital patients and staff from infectious bacteria1 with a copper alloy surface that is proven to continuously kill bacteria, killing more than 99.9 percent of bacteria within two hours2.
A number of specialty door hardware solutions are available to create a safer and more efficient environment. Push/pull hospital latches help patients and staff members operate doors when their hands are full and they are ADA compliant. Specially designed anti-ligature devices help create a safer space for behavioral health patients. With unique sloped and recessed surfaces, these locks and hinges cannot be used as a ligature point for someone intending to do harm to themselves.
Also be aware that Joint Commission inspections now include a Life Safety specialist as part of the team. Life Safety codes require that certain doors have appropriate smoke seals and fire protection rating. Getting into compliance can be as easy as installing a steel door that seals tightly when closed. The seals also reduce noise, which is an important part of creating a quiet and safe environment for patients.
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