Portable fans in clinical areas deemed an infection control risk

Blade-less portable fans were found to naturally accumulate dust and debris in the body of the fan providing a reservoir for micro-organisms.

Ian Snug
21 January 2019
electric fan

Portable fans used in clinical areas have been linked to cross infection in health and social care facilities.

NHS Improvement have issued an alert warning that portable fans used in clinical areas have been linked to cross infection in health and social care facilities.

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Blade-less portable fans were found to naturally accumulate dust and debris in the body of the fan providing a reservoir for micro-organisms.

While there is currently no evidence that conventional bladed fans disperse micro-organisms in the same way. NHS Improvement say as a precautionary measure they are being considered equally implicated and consequently, all portable fans are within scope of this alert.

The healthcare regulator has called for each use and reuse to be clinically risk assessed and have provided new guidelines for the use of fans in clinical areas.

– Portable fans are not recommended for use during outbreaks of infection or when a patient is known or suspected to have an infectious agent.

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– Consideration should be given to whether the fan can be adequately decontaminated for safe reuse or whether it should be disposed of after use.

– All portable fans used in health and social care facilities should be removed from the clinical area immediately and decontaminated after each patient use.

NHS Improvement are calling on infection control teams to establish local guidelines for the cleaning, maintenance and decontamination of the devices.

The full patient safety alert can be found here.

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