A hospital can be a frenetic environment where the unexpected can happen at any moment, sometimes with patients’ lives hanging in the balance. Whether they are performing surgery on the victims of accidents or treating sufferers with chronic illnesses, a clinician’s time is best spent on caring for the patient and not on dealing with situations related to their surroundings.
The operating room is the prime example of a hospital space where everyone from the anesthesiologist to the surgeon to the nurses must all be on top of their game to give the patient the best chance of a successful surgery and treatment outcome. With so much at stake, these clinicians should only have to focus on making sure they do their job right, and not on tangent, but essential factors related to their environment like operating room temperature and humidity.
While it may seem rather incidental, the climate inside of surgical suites must be exact in order to facilitate successful operations and to meet the design requirements defined by the American Society of Healthcare Engineering or ASHRAE Standard 170. The standard provides guidance on airflow, temperature, and humidity for healthcare facilities. When not properly controlled, these climate-related factors can fluctuate within an operating room and affect the probability of a positive patient outcome.
According to ASHRAE Standard 170, an operating room must be designed to provide a relative humidity of 20 to 60% and a space temperature of 68 to 75°F. It’s not uncommon for surgeons to request a space temperature as low as 64°F. While the HVAC systems of operating rooms can meet the desired cool temperature, they are usually incapable of doing so while still maintaining a relative humidity of less than 60%. Healthcare workers may be unfamiliar with the inverse relationship between space temperature and space relative humidity – as the former decreases, the latter increases. Turning down the thermostat at the surgeon’s request may put relative humidity out of the range set forth by ASHRAE Standard 170.
It’s up to healthcare leaders to equip clinicians with the tools they need to effectively treat patients; this includes an OR with superior dehumidification capabilities so that, when desired, clinicians can achieve lower space temperatures without bumping relative humidity above the 60% upper limit. Polygon offers climate control solutions for maintaining exact climate conditions necessary for successful surgical procedures. Our advanced equipment keeps ventilation, airflow, temperature, and humidity in check so that clinicians can concentrate on giving patients the best care, and not on the climate of their workspace. Click here to learn more about our temporary climate solutions.