Hygienic access solutions for healthcare environments

Tim Checketts, head of specification at dormakaba, discusses the access control solutions that help to minimise the spread of germs and bacteria without compromising security or accessibility

The design and specification of access solutions is a fine balance between security, accessibility and infection prevention and control. As such, automatic revolving doors are often chosen for entrances

When specifying door solutions in healthcare environments, those involved in involved in the planning and design of these buildings must find the crucial balance between security, accessibility, and infection control.

And, by taking a holistic approach to the design of these systems, all of these objectives can be met in a streamlined manner.

Door controls

Identifying and minimising common contact areas is one of the most-effective ways of improving hygiene, and a very-easy way to achieve this is by specifying automatic doors wherever possible.

There are a range of solutions available that will suit different areas of the building.

For entrances, automatic revolving, sliding, and single and double-leaf swing door options are ideal; while, for interiors, many internal manual doors can very simply be upgraded into automatic operation by swapping manual door closes for automatic swing door operators linked to sensors.

Depending on the system and manufacturer, it may also be possible to upgrade manual or semi-automatic revolving doors to fully automatic operation by replacing the control module.

Automatic doors that are operated by overhead motion sensor may not suit every area of the building, however, For example, in areas of high traffic, the use of motion sensors may trigger the doors to open unnecessarily.

When specifying access control solutions for healthcare environments, security considerations must be balanced with hygiene requirements

Usually in these scenarios, button or push-pad-operated doors are an ideal solution.

However, from an infection control perspective, these are not ideal due to repeated contact.

Instead, contact-free sensors can be installed that use microwave detection to activate the door, simply by the motion of a hand in front of the sensor.

Where automatic doors are not possible, it is possible to reduce contact with fire doors by adopting fire-safe and compliant solutions that enable fire doors to be left in the open position.

Here, electro-magnetic hold-open solutions are directly connected to the fire alarm system, releasing the door upon activation of the fire alarm to enable automatic closure and to minimise the spread of flames and smoke.

Not only does this improve hygiene by minimising physical interaction; it also offers more convenience for building occupants and improves access and movement throughout the facility for movement of beds and wheelchairs.

Contactless entry systems reduce the number of touchpoints and the threat of bacteria being transferred

Securing areas

Of course, certain areas of a healthcare building must be secured to prevent unauthorised access to staff-only areas.

Traditional cylinder locks and coded keypads are commonly used in this case. However, regular physical contact is required for this hardware.

Digital equivalents that support contactless access can be specified, and keypads easily exchanged for card readers.

By engaging early with a specialist supplier that can provide a single point of contact to identify, evaluate, and provide the most-appropriate entrance systems and access solutions, will help ensure the best-possible advice and guidance is received

There are a range of options available that use Radio-frequency identification (RFID) access media, and even some that feature Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) capabilities, which will enable smartphones to function as access media devices.

The design and specification of access solutions is a fine balance between security, accessibility and infection prevention and control. As such, automatic revolving doors are often chosen for entrances

These systems provide a far-greater advantage to managing the access rights of employees and visitors to a facility.

All readers can be integrated into a single system to manage rights remotely, and this approach also offers the ability to maintain a detailed log of access to key areas.

Additionally, these access controls can be easily integrated with automatic door systems to minimise the physical contact required.

When specifying access control solutions for healthcare environments, security considerations must be balanced with hygiene requirements.

And, by engaging early with a specialist supplier that can provide a single point of contact to identify, evaluate, and provide the most-appropriate entrance systems and access solutions, will help ensure the best-possible advice and guidance is received.

Companies