Copper is inherently antimicrobial, meaning it will rapidly kill bacteria and viruses on contact. It shares this property with many alloys – including brass and bronze – and this family of materials is known as ‘antimicrobial copper’. By replacing frequently-touched surfaces such as door furniture, taps and handrails with items made from solid antimicrobial copper, the risk of infections spreading via those surfaces can be dramatically reduced.
Clinical trials in hospitals across the world have shown antimicrobial copper surfaces harbour >80% less contamination than non-copper surfaces, and can make a significant contribution to reducing infection rates. Product manufacturers have responded to the resulting market demand by creating new product ranges, available in a wide variety of colours and designs to suit any aesthetic.
The CPD material has been developed by Copper Development Association and approved by the Royal Institute of British Architects through their CPD Providers Network, which offers architects and other construction professionals high-quality CPD material.
The presentation describes what healthcare-associated infections are, the dangers they pose and their cost, both financially and in terms of lives lost. The role touch surfaces play in the spread of infection is explained along with how antimicrobial copper can help break the chain of infection by continuously reducing surface contamination. The business case is presented, demonstrating rapid return on investment. Example installations are given and guidance provided on how to recognise efficacious products, covering test standards and the Cu+ industry stewardship scheme.
The material is available online as a narrated presentation with accompanying notes, followed by a web-based self-assessment. It can also be delivered at a practice. Either method takes around one hour, and completion counts as two hours’ CPD.
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