Right from the start
Managing water safety is important in all bathrooms but nowhere is it more critical than in healthcare environments. In hospitals and care homes, the thermostatic control of taps is a key requirement to ensure safe temperature of hot water at the point of use. Paul Musgrove, Specification Manager for the Health and Care Sector at Reliance Water Controls (RWC), explains how the company’s Caremix® range of thermostatic taps and showers helps plumbers to ensure the stringent hygiene and infection control standards demanded in healthcare are met right from the point of installation.
Fit for purpose
Whether fitting washroom solutions in a huge new hospital or upgrading facilities in a small residential care home, it’s more than likely the products being installed have been chosen because their features will more easily help to meet and maintain water management, hygiene and infection control standards.
For those fitting these systems, ease of product installation is absolutely essential but more so, believes RWC, is the ability to ensure that they are fitted correctly, to minimise any potential issues once they’ve been commissioned and are in use.
Therefore, RWC underpins its product offering with a comprehensive technical service that provides customers with steadfast and reliable support to help achieve the best possible product performance. For example, we provide onsite training for plumbers, giving them guidance on how to best install our thermostatic taps and showers in healthcare premises, making sure they’ll be able to meet the required regulations and exacting standards and minimising the risk of future issues or damage.
To further aid the installation process, we reduce its complexity for plumbers by packaging and delivering products such as TMV3 shower valves to be fitted in to two clear stages; behind the wall and in front of the wall. We also help them to easily flush through a system after the first stage fix when all of the components have been secured behind the wall, to remove any left behind grit and dirt so that the products will confidently meet the rigorous requirements of healthcare environments from the moment they have been installed.
While we endeavour to keep product installation as simple as possible, we believe the same principle should be applied to ongoing product maintenance to bring multiple benefits, particularly in healthcare and care facilities where inadequate cleaning and disinfection can really be a matter of life or death.
Although it’s been a hot topic for many years, poor infection control is still making headlines. Earlier this year an NHS Trust was fined for inadequate Legionella control practices following the death of a patient, who was believed to have contracted Legionnaires’ disease from a hospital shower.
For this reason, the changing circumstances that surround the issues of pseudomonas and legionella control in UK healthcare facilities, makes the design, supply, installation and maintenance of water systems and products a big challenge. Varying industry viewpoints and new technologies also add confusion when it comes to making the right decision on product choice.
Simplicity built in
The Caremix range is therefore designed to address the specific requirements in tackling water safety, scalding potential and hygiene and infection control by helping to ensure good clinical maintenance procedures are easily followed to help safeguard patient welfare.
In practice, every tap in the range uses a unique Aegle one piece thermostatic cartridge as standard. Requiring just one type of cartridge makes maintenance as simple as possible, it also minimises the risk of mistakes and damage because it’s impossible to fit any other type with the range.
Utilising a cartridge system means the components of each tap can be accessed from in front of the wall with an allen key, ensuring maintenance and repairs can be done quickly and easily. In facilities where it’s vital to minimise downtime or avoid area closures this is incredibly beneficial.
With this in mind, both wall mounted and deck mounted Caremix taps have been designed for easy removal for cleaning, repair or replacement. Following isolation, the entire tap can be removed simply and a spare installed. Taking this principle of ‘front of wall’ maintenance a step further the one-piece internal brass housing, which contains the non-return valve, cylindrical strainer and flow regulator, can be removed and replaced immediately, leaving time to clean or repair the internal components away from the washroom with no ‘downtime’.
A new disinfection flushing hose has been introduced to the range, which allows the tap to be cleansed with scalding water in seconds, while the tap is in situ, killing any germs as part of a robust and highly efficient maintenance programme.
The taps also have a Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) coating to resist scratching and deterioration of the chrome finish. Not only does this mean they stay looking good for longer, it also ensures they can endure the robust and vigorous maintenance that’s so essential when working in the healthcare sector.