Go copper!

Published 9:23 pm Thursday, March 16, 2017

There’s a new standard for cleanliness at Sentara Obici Hospital.

Where white sheets and linens were once considered an indicator of sanitary conditions, science has provided a better option — copper.

Copper-infused linens have been found to prevent the transmission of infections, hospital officials said recently, and Sentara has implemented a program of replacing the system’s white sheets, pillowcases, blankets, patient gowns, towels and washcloths with new ones that have the distinctive salmon hue imparted by the copper within the fabric.

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“It adds that extra layer of protection for the patient,” said Kelly Doloresco, ICU clinical nurse manager. “We’re always looking for more technology and more ways to keep our patients safe.”

The plan calls for Sentara facilities eventually to replace molded hard surfaces like bedside tabletops and side rail covers with copper-infused materials, as well.

The products are said to kill 99.9 percent of organisms in two hours, Doloresco said.

A 10-month trial at Norfolk’s Sentara Leigh Hospital found that the copper-infused products contributed to a 78-percent reduction in multi-drug resistant organisms, according to Sentara. The results of the trial were published in September 2016 in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Infection Control.

Use of the copper-infused materials could help Sentara’s facilities, including Obici Hospital, reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections, which are among the biggest potential problems patients face after surgery or other procedures during mid- and long-term hospital stays.

This is good news for patients, and it’s a great indicator of the healthcare provider’s commitment to improving health care in Hampton Roads. Go copper!