Ronald McDonald House of Charleston, USA
Ronald McDonald – a well-known, global brand – is also renowned for its housing charity, working in communities to offer aid to families in need. The charity's Charleston House has elected to retrofit many touch surfaces and hardware with antimicrobial copper items in the hopes of providing a safer living and working environment for guests and employees.
The Ronald McDonald House of Charleston provides seriously ill
children and their families a "second home" during the time of the
child's treatment and recovery. These amenities are provided
at no cost to the families in need. The facility can host up
to 25 families a night and volunteers are on staff 24 hours a day
to aid the families however possible.
All families have children currently in the hospital and the
majority of those children are in the Intensive Care Units
(ICU). Studies have shown that 70% of ICU patients who have
stayed in the ICU for over a week contracted an infection.
Such statistics demonstrate the importance of fighting infection in
hospitals and other environments where patients and their families
are vulnerable. By outfitting frequently-touched surfaces
(e.g. grab rails, door knobs, tabletops, stair rails and chair
arms) with antimicrobial copper, the House will provide a cleaner
living environment for its guests and staff.
The extensive renovation, which makes RMHC the first non-profit
temporary residence facility in the United States to undertake an
Antimicrobial Copper retrofit, has replaced steel, wood and plastic
touch surfaces with solid, copper-based metals like brass and
bronze. Many high-traffic surfaces were converted, including: stair
handrails, sinks, taps, tables, locksets, cabinet pulls and chair
"When we learned about copper's proven antimicrobial properties,
we were anxious to be the first Ronald McDonald House to test the
touch surfaces. I hope our results will help spur a public
health trend toward the use of antimicrobial copper materials,"
said Barbara Bond - executive director, Ronald McDonald House of
Charleston. "It has been an honour to work with the copper
manufacturers and installers who donated time and materials in
helping us to make our facility even safer for our guests and their
children," she added.
Dr Michael Schmidt, professor and vice chair of the Department
of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South
Carolina, was the lead investigator in the US, multi-site clinical
trial that first demonstrated antimicrobial copper surfaces
reducing the risk of patients acquiring hospital infections.
He said of the Ronald McDonald installation: "This practical
application of Antimicrobial Copper will provide a strong 'real
world' example that will give the American public a clear
understanding of the public health benefits of copper materials not
only in a healthcare setting, but also in hotels, restaurants and
other public gathering places."
US-based Copper Development Association Inc is also doing
research at the House of Charleston to investigate copper's
potential in this environment. Researchers have swabbed the
previous surfaces that are to be replaced by Antimicrobial Copper
products. The swabs will provide a baseline for the bacterial
contamination levels on the old components, which will later be
compared to the contamination levels on the copper surfaces.
Researchers hope to show just how much cleaner and safer a building
can be if they use antimicrobial copper hardware.
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