Building for a Healthier Future

The global pandemic has served as a worldwide wake-up call to the ways in which we’re all vulnerable – and connected. At the beginning of the crisis, we heard constant reminders to wash our hands. Now that it’s clear COVID-19 is here to stay in one form or another, attention has turned to building in solutions for cleaner hands and designing spaces to be healthier. Clearly, nowhere is that more important than in physicians’ offices, clinics, hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Strategies include costly filtration on HVAC systems, plumbing fixtures that allow for touchless operation, a bipolar needlepoint ionization machine and ultraviolet-based sanitizing technologies. But the jury’s still out on the effectiveness of some of these solutions.

That leaves the issue of hand hygiene and hand sanitizers, which were the focus of much attention early on in the pandemic. Given what we already know about the ease of transmitting germs manually, and our often-deficient hand hygiene practices, the time for that attention is long overdue.

Reliability Is Key

It’s well known that proper hand hygiene is not always practiced, even in the very places where it is most essential.

One recent study published by the University of Cambridge found just 40% of healthcare workers followed recommended hand hygiene guidelines. Even before COVID-19, hospital infections affected nearly 2 million people each year in the United States. Studies have found that those infections could have been prevented had workers adhered to safe care protocols, including proper hand hygiene.

Now that the pandemic has reinforced the need for us all to clean up our act, and given that leading researchers and practitioners have proven alcohol-based solutions are more efficient in reducing hand contamination than washing with antiseptic soap, the first place in need of reinvention is the hand sanitizer station.

Providing permanent, dependable, high-capacity dispensers is crucial to improving hand hygiene and reducing the spread of germs in healthcare facilities. A recent study at two nursing units confirmed that easier access to hand sanitization devices led to improved hand hygiene among workers.

Building in Hygiene

The Vaask hand sanitizing fixture is quickly becoming indispensable for healthcare facilities. Designed as a permanent, built-in fixture, and developed under the guidance of healthcare industry professionals, Vaask – a name inspired by the Norwegian word for ‘wash’ – makes hand hygiene desirable, thanks to its sleek, all-metal construction and expert engineering.

With its touchless design, Vaask features a Palm Pilot® sensor that accurately detects hands and eliminates mess. The refillable tank contains up to twice the sanitizer of typical dispensers, cutting down on maintenance. An array of easily customizable LEDs not only attract the eye, reminding people to clean their hands; they also alert personnel when levels are low.

The Vaask hand sanitizing dispenser solves a major problem in healthcare facilities, so it’s hardly surprising that it has been honored with numerous awards, including Best New Healthcare Product of the year and two Symposium Distinction Awards at the Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo, which recognized Vaask as both Most Sustainable Product and Architect’s Choice Product.

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