Titan’s Air Sampling Methodologies to Prevent Infection Spread During Healthcare Construction

by | Jan 26, 2021 | General Contracting, New Buildings, New Construction, Reconstruction, Remodeling, Restoration

Containing infection spread during hospital construction is a major challenge. Construction & renovation contractors rely on different procedures to contain infection spread during healthcare construction.

Air sampling is one of the prime means that Titan Restoration Construction relies on to prevent inspection spread. However, we do not rely on air sampling on all occasions as the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) doesn’t recommend this.

There are certain scenarios where Titan employs air sampling; the procedure is predominantly carried out during commissioning and recommissioning of operating rooms and clean rooms.  Air sampling is used when performing any construction works with the potential to impact immunocompromised patients for the following reasons:

  • To identify the source for a cluster of infections
  • To establish and review historical background levels

Airborne Sampling: Things to Note

It is worth knowing some air sampling facts and figures

  • The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend routine air sampling due to evidence and standard disparities
  • Air sampling can only provide indoor air quality reading at a single point in time
  • Sampling result varies with a variety of factors including indoor visitor traffic, relative humidity and time or day of the year
  • Sampling results need to be compared to the results from other defined areas to make meaningful assumptions

Titan relies on both the active and passive air sampling methodologies as each method has distinct characteristics related to unique situations.

Active sampling

The active air sampling procedures involve extracting the air via a metered orifice via special devices and depositing it onto agar plates or a nutrient media.

Actively sampling is what we rely on on most occasions and the team excises exceptional care when performing the procedure.

The agar plates are incubated and the result measured is compared to an available baseline level of count to derive meaningful assumptions. Both the historical and background levels are used for comparison purposes to identify seasonal and any other potential variations.

Active sampling pros

  • The most commonly used method of sampling for microbial contamination
  • Rapid collection
  • Lets you measure even the lowest airborne counts
  • The possibility to measure the droplet nuclei

Active sampling cons

  • Expensive machinery
  • Difficulty to maintain surrounding air
  • Difficulty in sterilizing the equipment
  • Difficulty in producing the results

Passive sampling

Passive sampling relies on gravity where the nutrient media is placed on open-air to let the airborne particles settle. The air is sampled for the sole purpose of enumerating bacteria and fungi.

Passive sampling provides us a clear insight into potential airborne particles that could settle onto horizontal surfaces. Since the bacterial count correlates closely to that of the respective count in obtained from wounds, this is a remarkable means for us to investigate infection control.

Passive sampling pros

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Comparable & meaningful results
  • Causes minimum or no room airflow disturbance
  • Lets you carry out multiple simultaneous sampling

Active sampling Cons

  • Collection of larger particles
  • Results not widely accepted
  • Improper for commissioning theatres
  • Not qualitative or quantitative

Titan’s team incorporates both active and passive sampling methods into our healthcare construction risk management program as per the situation’s demand. The readings are taken at the required intervals and are compared with the designated baselines to identify any inconsistencies and to address these as quickly as possible.