- Available Technologies
With over 40 million surgical and non-surgical procedures performed each year, hospitals have addressed the need for the occasional isolation of patients during emergency and operating room procedures over concerns with infection or viral exposure. While flu season patients will always be a cause for concern, the Covid-19 pandemic overwhelmed hospital isolation rooms and has caused hospitals to cancel procedures due to onboarding of contagious patients, ultimately losing revenue. This has elevated the need for technology that limits viral spread and protects both the patient and care teams. Negative pressure rooms are designed to prevent spread, but hospitals have a limited number of rooms, and they do not prevent contamination of health care workers inside. There is currently no way to make the rooms portable, scalable, or adaptable for various clinical environments. To combat this problem, Clemson University researchers, along with healthcare workers from PRISMA Health have developed a novel, portable, negative pressure hood prototype that will protect both patients and staff. The personal, portable negative pressure environment will be a life-saving device on par with a portable defibrillator.
Isolation, Containment, Hospital, Ambulance, Viral
The proposed COVER system utilizes a transparent tent-like hood that covers the head and torso of the patient and is connected to a suction-generating system designed to draw in air from both inside and surrounding the device across HEPA filters to remove 99.7% of all particles greater than 0.3um. For comparison, current guidelines recommend healthcare workers utilize N95 masks for high-risk procedures, and these masks only filter 95% of particles. The negative pressure chamber uses fans or a vacuum in an enclosed PVC structure to create a negative flow field. The fans or vacuum pull all air from inside the chamber through the HEPA filters before returning to the room environment. The HEPA filters prevent the infectious aerosolized particles from exiting the chamber, providing a barrier between contagious patients and the healthcare professionals and others outside the chamber.
• Portable, can be used anywhere in the hospital
• Enables the reinstatement of bedside procedures and oral procedures and treatments currently prohibited due to risk of viral spread
• Hood is being designed to be cost-effective
John DesJardins, Delphine Dean
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