How to Incorporate Infection Prevention, Safety & Durability into an OT/PT Clinic

We have been hearing reports from our distributors that the Joint Commission is visiting clinics with a warning to find an alternative to wooden products used for rehabilitation. Why?

Training stairs are one of the most common pieces of wooden equipment found in occupational therapy and physical therapy clinics—not only the stairs themselves but the hand rails, as well. Because wood is a porous material which can harbor dangerous microorganisms, this type of stair poses an unexpected problem for infection control. Exacerbating the issue, repeated cleaning and disinfection will break down any protective coatings over time.

As patients at high risk for COVID begin returning to facilities across the country, it is imperative to keep an eye out for hidden infection risks. At this time, there is no “code” requiring this change; the implied message is that clinics should take the initiative to find solutions that offer better infection control.

If not wood, what’s the alternative? Easy to clean, durable stainless steel.

Benefits of Whitehall Stainless Steel Therapy Stairs

  • Superior weight capacity. Our stairs are rated for up to 800 pounds—more than twice the capacity of many wooden stair models.
  • Easier to maintain and clean. They help to minimize the chance of infection and make it easy to sanitize on a per-patient basis.
  • More durable than wood. Stainless steel will last virtually forever and will not develop superficial scratches and dents.
  • They are the eco-responsible choice. We use recycled materials to make our stairs, and should you choose to decommission the stairs at some point, you can recycle them again.
Stainless Steel Training Stairs

Is Stainless Steel As Hygienic As We Say It Is?

Consider this: stainless steel is used in the most demanding medical applications such as surgical instruments and implants. If there were ever a situation that requires infection control, it would be the operating room and the inside of your body.

According to the International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF), a non-profit research and development organization, stainless steel in general offers a multitude of benefits:

  • The passive layer that protects stainless steel will not wear away over time from repeated cleaning and disinfection.
  • In addition to being non-porous, stainless steel is harder than other metallic alloys and less susceptible to superficial damage—such as scratches and dents where biomass could accumulate.
  • Stainless steel is resistant to both corrosion and high temperatures. It can be sterilized—by thermal process or by chemical agents—without corroding or losing mechanical or physical properties.
  • Its long life and durability make stainless steel a cost-effective, high-performance material.

Keep an eye out for other infection prevention “traps.” Some other stainless steel products that can help you with infection prevention in your clinic are sensor-activated, reusable water bottle refilling stations, hand washing stations, sinks, toilets, and urinals.

Many patients are wary of returning because of COVID. By adhering to the suggestions of the Joint Commission, you provide them with peace of mind while also providing the best therapy possible. We urge you to promote enthusiastically and proactively your clinic’s infection prevention practices in order to ease patients’ minds.

As we answer more and more calls for our stainless steel therapy stairs, it’s clear that clinics are taking infection prevention very seriously. If you’d like to get in front of Joint Commission requests, contact us to learn more about the many stainless steel options we have available.