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Privacy Curtains

Understanding the Downstream Consequences of Ceiling Mounted Cubicle Tracks in Patient Areas

By June 7th, 2023No Comments

Surprisingly, unlike other countries in the world, US healthcare architects and designers continue to design patient rooms at our medical facilities with cubicle tracks that are mounted on the ceiling, requiring large (expensive) mesh curtains.

Already facilities are struggling with finding a process for on-time curtain exchange compliance. It’s easy to see why they are challenged; the complexity and cost of having to manage a large inventory of (non-standardized) curtain sizes is absolutely mind-boggling.

Large facilities may have up to 45 mesh curtain types; multiple widths and heights, as well as patterns to accommodate their track lengths  and varying ceiling heights.

Also, undertaking ceiling mounted curtain exchanges is a significant burden on Environmental Services (EVS) staff time allocation. To exchange, you need “a man, a trip to the curtain storage area, and a tall ladder to install”. It takes upward of 60 minutes to complete this process, significantly hampering room turnover and patient bed availability.

It’s not surprising that curtains fly under the radar, creating significant patient and staff infection risk as they frequently remain in place too long. But how on earth can we expect EVS departments to figure out how to exchange these curtains, touched by everyone, in a timely fashion when they’ve been dealt such a bad hand due to terrible design!

When designing or renovating healthcare facilities all stakeholders should consider the downstream consequences of ceiling mounted cubicle tracks and explore options that will eliminate ladders.