In healthcare settings there are many unknowns, from which viruses will run rampant in a given year to peak patient volumes. One way design teams prepare for the unexpected is through isolation rooms. These rooms are negatively pressurized in relation to surrounding areas, typically the corridor. In the event a patient with an unknown or highly communicable disease needs care, this strategic management of pressure helps prevent infectious airborne particles from escaping the room envelope.

Given the importance of maintaining negative pressure, one product that is integral to the success of isolation rooms is the door. Long considered one of the weakest links in a wall assembly, interior doors are prone to creating leaky gaps for air to pass through when closed. While this is not a cause for concern in many applications, it can compromise airflow and pressure management in isolation rooms, placing patients and staff at risk. For this reason, selecting an interior door with a strong, airtight perimeter is not only essential in isolation rooms, but often required by code. Follow along as we explain how interior sliding door systems, one of the most efficient and accessible solutions in healthcare facilities, can play a key role in sealing these spaces.

Isolation room solutions

A hallmark of interior sliding door systems is how easily they glide into and out of place. But given their ease of movement and historically moderate seals, can they actually form a perimeter that’s tight enough for isolation rooms? Thanks to products like AD Systems’  ExamSlide™ doors, the answer is yes.

Specifically designed for healthcare settings, ExamSlide doors use standard perimeter gasketing and automatic drop-down bottom seals to overcome leaky gaps, quickly and effectively sealing the slider when closed. The doors are at the ready to help maintain negative pressure in isolation rooms, and can be a real code problem solver with their ability to pass UL-1784, Standard for Air Leakage Tests of Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives. Going a step further, the doors’ perimeter gaskets and seals improve sound abatement and allow them to provide NIC (noise isolation class) values up to 39 to help provide patient privacy. ExamSlide doors have been used successfully in pharmacies, as well as lab and negative pressure settings, to provide safe, secure and private rooms.

Touchless and antimicrobial options with AD Systems

To improve accessibility and further reduce the spread of germs or bacteria, some interior sliding door manufacturers now offer automation, which allows for touchless opening and closing of the doors. This type of operability is ideal for stringent isolation rooms, where extra care, suiting up and sanitization are all necessary to help contain highly contagious airborne diseases. Keeping every touchpoint clean is an important component of these infection control protocols. With the advent of automation, staff can now open the sliders leading into these compromised spaces with the simple wave of a hand, a step on a footpad or small touch of a button, helping reduce the spread of germs.

For doors where automation is not employed, antimicrobial options are available. Designed to suppress the growth of microorganisms, these coatings can help reduce the transfer of germs on some of today’s most frequently touched places, such as door handles.

A quick solution for temporary isolation rooms

While permanent isolation rooms play a key role in healthcare preparedness, so too do temporary ones. During a pandemic or peak flu season, for instance, the influx of infected patients entering hospitals may strain capacity and require creative room adjustments. Interior sliding door systems are ideal for healthcare teams seeking quick solutions to provide the necessary level of containment. The doors are easy to install, design-forward and can create a tight room envelope. Better yet, because they slide into or along the wall, they are space-efficient, allowing design teams to make the most of critical square footage.

Whether permanent or temporary, having a door that prevents leaky gaps and maintains negative pressure in isolation rooms is critical. AD Systems’ ExamSlide doors can be a smart solution to help create contained, sanitized spaces for infected patients and safeguard others. Learn more about how these doors can help your healthcare facility here.