Self-disinfecting door pads to help care home fight virus threat

A Yorkshire care home is installing self-disinfecting door pads as it prepares to fight against infections during the winter months.

The pads, which are being put in place at the Vida Grange specialist dementia care home, in Pannal, near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, kill germs and bacteria in seconds and can reduce the spread of viruses.

The Yorkshire-based team behind the Surfaceskins push pads and pull handles said they are prioritising local care providers and the most vulnerable, despite a huge growth in worldwide demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The pads, which took seven years to develop, secrete a small amount of alcoholic gel when pressed by the user – self-disinfecting the surface in seconds and stopping the transmission of germs from repeated door contact.

They were initially intended for use in clinical settings, such as special care baby units and intensive care wards, and have been validated by the NHS.

Coronavirus – Tue Oct 6, 2020
Coronavirus – Tue Oct 6, 2020

Adam Walker, director of Surfaceskins, told the PA news agency: “Surfaceskins are alcohol gel push pads and pull handles for doors, which, when pressed, secrete a very small amount of alcohol gel to self-disinfect the surface in the vital seconds between one user and the next passing through the door. This is absolutely critical to kill germs in seconds to protect each user.

“These are not designed to clean your hands, that’s the job of the gel dispensers and hand-washing, it’s absolutely vital that people do that, but if you use a gel dispenser and wash your hands and then you touch a dirty door, you potentially risk contamination.”

Mr Walker continued: “Many, many years ago, I watched people elbow-barge and shoulder-barge and push-kick open doors, I think that’s something most people can identify with and something most people have done at some point in their life.

“The design brief was to create something which killed germs in seconds and basically stopped you from being put in a position where you’re forced to touch a dirty surface you simply do not want to touch.”

Coronavirus – Tue Oct 6, 2020
Coronavirus – Tue Oct 6, 2020

James Rycroft, managing director of Vida Healthcare, said: “I think Surfaceskins is a great innovation. This pandemic took the world by surprise and everything we can use to help us fight against the virus is a welcome addition to our homes.

“Since the pandemic broke we’ve stepped everything right up and we’re using all sorts of chemicals to wash everything down, Surfaceskins is a welcome addition.”

Mr Rycroft added: “We need to protect staff, we need to protect residents, we have a duty of care to our families and loved ones, who are really struggling at this moment in time because they can’t visit and we’re doing everything we can to try to allow visits but currently at the moment it’s in total lockdown so we have to do everything we can to keep everything absolutely clean as possible to protect everyone.”

Professor Mark Wilcox, consultant and head of microbiology research at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: “Disruptive and game-changing products could be a key weapon in the battle against the spread of infection – whether it’s flu, MRSA or the coronavirus.”