Nowhere is air filtration more important than in a health care facility. The level of airborne infectious contaminant increases proportionately with the increased population density of infected individuals. Concern is not limited to hospitals, as many invasive procedures are now performed at outpatient facilities. Additionally the congregation of people endemic to these facilities increases the likelihood of contaminant transfer. Other types of health care facilities that have a need to control air quality for health include nursing homes and dental offices or clinics.
Various authorities have established guidelines for levels of air filtration in health care facilities. Guidelines recognized within these recommendations include the United States Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
Air filters offer excellent protection from the airborne maladies of health care facilities, as long as they are a component in an overall program of air quality control. Components include air filters, the air filter housings or holding frames, air changes supplied to the conditioned space, temperature and humidity control, outside air introduction and appropriate control of airflow to protect visitors from undue exposure. Some patients, such as those in burn wards require additional considerations for their protection.
The protection of facility employees is also a paramount concern. Clinical staffs are subject to increased exposure to infected individuals. Support personnel are also subject to exposure. Proper application of air filtration and proper engineering controls can reduce the risks by a level of magnitudes. Additionally, those that service the engineered air systems require engineering expertise and should be educated as to the importance of the systems that they maintain.