What Types of Curtains Should Be Used in Patient Bays: Q&A With Phenelle Segal of Infection Control Consulting Services

Phenelle Segal, RN CIC, is president of Infection Control Consulting Services based in Blue Bell, Pa.


Q: Is there any information on what types of privacy curtains should be used in the patient bays? We would really love to have some backing to purchase something with an antimicrobial element.


Phenelle Segal: Privacy curtain changes remain an unresolved issue. The most recent CDC "Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities" (2003) refers to the following: "Clean walls, blinds, and window curtains in patient-care areas when they are visibly dusty or soiled" and "Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, bed rails, light switches, and surfaces in and around toilets in patients' rooms) on a more frequent schedule than minimal-touch housekeeping surfaces." The CDC guidelines do not mention privacy curtains and therefore, I would consider them a high-touch surface, but the question is how to clean them more frequently.


Obviously if privacy curtains are visibly soiled, they should be taken down and laundered. In addition, each facility should determine a routine cleaning schedule for their curtains and write up a policy for both visibly soiled and routine cleaning


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Newer products including those with disposable panels and antimicrobial impregnated agents should be carefully researched and a risk (financial) versus benefit analysis performed when considering their use


Learn more about Infection Control Consulting Services.


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