Hospital Curtains vs. Medical Privacy Screens – Capital & Ongoing Operational Costs
The subject of cost ranks high with hospital facility or estate managers, and this is important when we consider the strain that the current pandemic is putting on their financial resources. As we enter the winter season, we can also anticipate further strain as hospitals are tasked with treating seasonal flu, norovirus, and winter-related injuries and medical complications.
So maybe this is a good place to begin our debate. To compare the relative costs, we will refer to an industry cost comparison that amortised the capital expenditure over six years, and based ongoing cost calculations on the curtains or screens being cleaned once a month.
Comparison of Capital Costs – Purchase And Installation
Medical Privacy Screens naturally cost more than hospital curtains – the cost comparison estimated them to be almost four times the cost – but when the cost of installation was factored into the equation, screens only cost 50% more than curtains.
Bear in mind that for an extra investment of just 50%, screens are substantially more durable than curtains, and their modular design means that damaged sections can be easily replaced. Ongoing costs to replace damages will therefore be significantly lower, less replacement stock will need to be held in reserve, and the higher initial investment will quickly be repaid.
Comparison of Ongoing Costs – Cleaning
Curtains must be removed from tracks and taken off-site or to a hospital laundry for cleaning, and fresh curtains must be rehung in their place.
In contrast, screens are designed for easy cleaning without removal.
The cost comparison recorded that the handling, transport and administration costs for removing, laundering and rehanging curtains were 650% higher than the cost to clean screens.
Total Costs In Real Terms of Medical Screens vs Hospital Curtains
By writing off the capital investment over six years and combining it with the cleaning costs during that period, the cost comparison revealed that the total cost of medical privacy screens was just 57.6% of that of hospital curtains.
Costs Not Included in the Industry Study
The study did not however include costs for the repair or replacement of damaged screen panels or curtains. If we look at the comparative durability of the two products and the wear and tear inflicted on them both in use and – in the case of the curtains – transportation, handling and machine laundry, it isn’t an unfair assumption to suggest that curtains are more likely to require repair and/or replacement in that period.
There are also other costs that will have a financial impact on hospital facilities management, and these relate to the increased risks of contamination and cross-infection presented by curtains. We will be discussing this point later in our debate, so stay tuned in and follow us.