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Privacy Curtains

How Cubicle Curtains can Reflect Badly on your EVS Department

By June 11th, 2024No Comments
Hospital room with wrinkled and mismatched cubicle curtains

When it comes to cubicle curtains in healthcare, if the curtains look good, nobody will notice.  But if they look bad, everybody notices!

A bad looking curtain is an ugly cubicle curtain and reflects negatively on the managers of the curtains: the Environmental Services Department. Although the EVS department does not “own” any curtains, they provide the labor for exchanging them.

The reasons these ugly cubicle curtains hang around patient care areas are many.

Here are a dozen reasons in defense of EVS departments:

  1. There is no standard cubicle curtain.  One nursing division/unit prefers a certain color/pattern while another nursing division/unit thinks that one is ugly and doesn’t fit their décor and “better fashion sense”; so, they buy a different color/pattern.
  2. 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, non-standardized, (expensive) mesh curtains.
  3. Because there is no “standard” cubicle curtain, the probability of hanging the correct curtain in the correct room is a “roll of the dice”.
  4. Ceilings are of different heights.  So, a cubicle curtain made for one room or patient care area will be too long or too short for another room.
  5. Efforts to tag the curtains with size (length x width) or other information will eventually fall off or fade away to where it becomes unreadable. One doesn’t know until they get to the room needing a curtain that it is the wrong length or width.
  6. Old, outdated tracks with years’ worth of dust make it difficult to move the curtain so people resort to jerking them around.  This causes the curtains to either move, jump off the hook/carrier, or tears the mesh.
  7. Spare curtains are not purchased at the same time as the curtains are bought for patient care areas.  A good rule of thumb is to purchase 25-30% additional curtains to allow for the exchange of curtains.  If it is the ER, plan on 50-75% additional or spare curtains.
  8. Employees get annoyed that they have to exchange the curtain.  They have to find a ladder, go to the curtain room, grab a curtain, and go.  They tend to pay little attention to details like getting the right pattern, the right length or much of anything else.
  9. Invariably, the ugly curtain will show up in a VIP’s room and the blame will have to be placed on somebody.  The EVS leaders gets the phone call or email message, “Somebody screwed up!”
  10. Undertaking ceiling mounted curtain exchanges is a significant burden on EVS staff labor 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.
  11. Cloth curtains were not designed to endure frequent laundering. The result is the “life” is washed out of them. During the laundering process, curtains end up staying too long in the washing machine or dryer.  The result is a wrinkled mess.
  12. Finally, EVS leaders are struggling with finding the human and physical resources necessary 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.

Thankfully it doesn’t have to take a “man and a ladder” nor a genius to change out your privacy curtains anymore!

Our “no-ladder” exchange 100% recyclable Smart Curtain solutions are made of non-woven polypropylene, cost 90% less as compared to reusables, and will sharply reduce annual operating costs by promoting lean workflows and lowering your inventory requirements.

  • Recyclable curtains are easily changed as part of the Housekeeper’s terminal cleaning tasks as they are extremely light-weight and quickly changed out. Typically, we see a 90% reduction in installation cost.
  • Eliminates the use of a ladder or step stool along with all risks surrounding workers’ injuries associated with the use of ladders.
  • Curtains can be made part of a department or patient care division’s operational budget, not a capital expenditure like reusable curtains.

Facilities that have used the KleenEdge Cost Savings Calculator to calculate the impact and hidden costs of Isolation Room exchanges (ISO) are frequently amazed at the cost savings, ROI and operational efficiencies when switching to recyclable.

Please use our calculator to calculate privacy curtain and staff allocation savings at your facility today.