Specialty Plumbing Fixtures – PATIENT CARE UNITS
by Rich Grimes
Specialty plumbing fixtures are common in healthcare patient rooms and combine a variety of plumbing fixtures in one nice package. There are quite a few features on Patient Care Units that allow for customization according to the end user’s needs.
PATIENT CARE UNITS
Patient Care Units are modular and feature a decorative cabinet. The plumbing is pre-piped for hot and cold water with integral lavatories and closets. The waste systems are also internally pre-piped for simple connection. Patient Care Units utilize compact stainless steel fixtures that are common to Securityware. Most of the manufacturers of Patient Care Units are also in the business of manufacturing combination securityware and other specialty stainless steel fixtures. The drawings and pictures provided are compliments of Willoughby Industries.
Patient care units are designed to be compact due to the nature of their use. They are typically used instead of a separate bathroom, such as in a hospital or nursing care facility. Rooms are not very big so a compact combination fixture can resolve the need for a separate bathroom or multiple fixtures.
Health care applications require the highest level of cleanliness and disinfection. Stainless steel is most often used for its inherent anti-microbial properties and physical strength. Over its lifetime, a patient care unit is subjected to all kinds of spills and splashes of waste, infectious disease, blood and other bodily fluids. Hundreds of patients will use a single hospital room in a year. It is important to look beneath the cabinet and to always specify a stainless steel inner framework. Units that use a wooden framework are subject to exposure to infectious diseases and promote microbial and fungal growth. Wood is porous and can be saturated so it is the perfect Petri dish. This is an important factor in design, selection and specification for a healthcare facility. You or one of your loved ones could be staying in that room!
Patient Care Units are available with a variety of cabinet finishes and countertop surfaces. Stainless steel and polymer are the most commonly used surfaces. Solid surface polymers are available in a variety of colors. They are non-porous with a very smooth finish that is easy to clean. Solid surfaces have rounded corners and edges for safety.
The plumbing in Patient Care Units is unique and compact. Some popular models employ a swing-out elongated toilet that is concealed within the cabinet. They are constructed of stainless steel with siphon-jet operation. The fixture is flushed by a concealed flush valve within the cabinet and activated by a remote pushbutton. The design of a swing-out toilet does present a deflection challenge. For this reason, load bearing capacity is much greater than a standard fixture mounted on a carrier. These types of fixtures should be able to withstand loadings of 2000 pounds with no measurable deflection. The integrity of the swing-out trap and swivel assembly normally will determine how much of a load that a particular unit can handle before damage occurs. A locking lever allows the bowl to be locked into an open or closed position. A cabinet-mounted release handle can be also be used to operate the locking mechanism.
Lavatories and backsplashes are built into the countertop to create a single solid surface of polymer or stainless steel.
There are multiple options for colors, faucets, flush valves, grab bars, dialysis boxes, bedpan washers, foot pedal valves, toilet paper holders and more that can customize a unit to the specific needs of the application. Left and Right Hand arrangements allow the specifier to select the lavatory and toilet in different orientations and arrangements. Brushed stainless steel surfaces can also be powder-coated in various colors for a smooth, colored finish.
The swivel toilet is constructed with a 17″ high rim and available for use with a 1.6 gallon flush. There are many code-compliant options available for vacuum breakers, thermostatic mixing valves, P-traps and dialysis box drains, just to name a few.
Patient Care Units must have high load ratings due to the fact that they are integral to the cabinet and anchored to the floor. The swivel bowl and trap assembly must be extra-heavy duty to be locked into and out of position with each use.
They are subjected to a highly infectious environment and must not promote any kind of fungus or microbe growth. The inner construction is as important as the outer. A stainless steel inner framework is essential to a long-lasting, heavy-duty unit that is most resistant to spills and sprays of germs and contaminants. It has to be capable of being properly cleaned with its high usage in a constantly contaminated environment.
Patient Care Units are used in many healthcare and hospital applications for their all-in-one design and small footprint. They are combination units that have a heavy duty design to stand up to their constant usage. They incorporate many useful features and built-in innovations.
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