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CHES 2012: Towards World Class Health Care

Mechanical business professionals make their points on the best practices and regulations in healthcare facilities.


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November 1, 2012 by LUC BOILY

The Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society (CHES) held its 2012 National & Education Forum Trade Show at the Palais des congrès de Montreal this Fall under the theme, “Towards World Class Healthcare.” This three-day event brought together major players involved in planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance in Canadian healthcare facilities. Topics ranged from infection control to energy conservation.

Infection Control

With 11.6 per cent of patients entering a Canadian hospital to cure a illness contracting an infection – about 250000 cases reported each year in the country – safe measures in hospitals are a must, said Jessica Fullerton, Infection Control Practitioner (PCI) at the University Health Network in Toronto. Her session focused on the preventive and infection control requirements at construction and renovation sites in healthcare facilities.

To prevent the spread of bacteria in water, which occured in Quebec City this summer with the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, or the transportation of fungi in dust, for example, all construction/renovation sites must take on strict procedures, and need diligent teamwork from the very beginning of each project, stressed Fullerton. She went on to explain procedures that must be undertaken, which include: back and forth safe pathways for workers (dedicated elevator, restricted access), site isolation, venting duct and plumbing system recovery procedures, filter cleaning and replacement, as well as building negative pressure in rooms.

Back to Copper

An amazing children’s hospital case study in Alberta was presented by Allan Roles and Marc Kadziolka. Both were involved in the management and engineering of the project, in which a state of the art domestic water distribution system had been installed in 2006. Among its many unique features is an ultraviolet radiation water disinfection system, which is used to treat all incoming water.

Roles and Kadjolka emphasized that as much as 80 per cent of infections are spread through hand contact with the highest risk surfaces in hospital rooms being bed rails and tables, handles, faucets and sink edges. They suggested that copper plating these surfaces would prevent many of these infections and explained that has the natural property of destroying bacteria in a short period of time: two hours or so for the 30 million species in concentration tests performed. In fact, 15 minutes are often enough, contended the speakers. “Without eliminating the need to sanitize the room, copper surfaces nevertheless offer additional protection that pays itself in terms of infection decreases and patient quality of stay increases,” concluded Roles and Kadjolka.

Solutions for the future

Laurier Nichols, mechanical engineer with Dessau, offered delegates insights into improving the efficiency for the hospital of the future, because hospitals – given their purpose and ventilation requirements – have a much higher energy consumption rate than average buildings. As IAQ, comfort and HVAC efficiency solutions, Nichols pointed out energy efficiency measures including preheating domestic hot water; reducing steam production (used for sterilization and cooking); heating, cooling and humidifying the air used for ventilation; and heating the building envelope.

Heat recovery for heating, which often represents more than 40 per cent of the total electricity cost in hospitals – is the first move, according to Nichols. Using heat wheel technology will often provide the expected results. He added that water-glycol coils technology should be an alternative for contaminated exhaust air applications, which cannot be recirculated in the building.

Exhibit floor

In addition to the 20 seminars available to delegates, more than a hundred exhibitors were there to offer solutions for planning, construction, engineering, facilities management and security, building maintenance and support services, environmental and waste management. The next CHES Annual Conference will be at the Niagara Convention Centre, Niagara Falls, ON, September 22-24, 2013, with the theme “Powering Into the Future.”   <>

Luc Boily is the editor of Plomberie, Chauffage & Climatisation, HPAC’s French language sister publication.  


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