One objective was to develop a patient room prototype that facilitates infection prevention and to assess its effectiveness. In this MEDICA-tradefair.com interview, D.Eng. Wolfgang Sunder talks about the KARMIN project results and reveals what the hospital of the future might look like.
Dr. Sunder, the allotted project timeline for KARMIN officially ended in the middle of 2022. The KARMIN model patient room is now being set up in its own pavilion on the grounds of the Braunschweig Municipal Hospital as the “patient room of the future” and is intended as a study and research space in the future. What insights did you gain from the KARMIN project?
D.Eng. Wolfgang Sunder: The project has shown that infection prevention requires an interdisciplinary approach. It’s not enough if only medical professionals view the issue from their viewpoint or if we consider it solely from an architectural point of view. Embracing the "One Health" approach, it is important to address this subject from a wider perspective. It takes the interdisciplinary collaboration of all project stakeholders.
In the scientific analysis of our project, defining the traffic patterns of the various groups within the hospital room proved very important. Our partner from the Charité Berlin University Hospital provided us with information about the transmission routes of pathogens within the hospital. This knowledge allowed us to optimize the routing within the patient room. The KARMIN patient room is characterized by a clear zoning of an entrance area and a façade-side visitor area, as well as symmetrically arranged wet rooms on the left and right sides, the nursing work area, and the patient area. This makes it possible to clearly coordinate movement sequences in the room and maintain distances.
The second finding concluded that great cleaning options in the patient room promote infection prevention. This can be achieved by minimizing joints and by merging the edges of furnishings together (e.g., eliminating grips and handles, if possible), thus creating smooth surfaces that flow throughout the room. All materials have also been tested for their ease of cleaning.
However, the most important finding is that hand hygiene is the central pillar of infection prevention in the patient room. Hence, the KARMIN model patient room features a smart selection of various disinfectant dispensers. The continuous availability of the resource, knowledge of the right application method and visible, strategic placement are important to ensure safe and effective disinfectant use.