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Hospital Curtain FAQ’s

If and when you find yourself in a hospital emergency room, you are grateful for the privacy curtains that separate patients; however, below are some questions that you may never have considered regarding these very important curtains.  

Not only do these types of curtains ensure patient privacy, but they also meet fire safety codes and increase the workflow of healthcare personnel.

How are privacy curtains constructed?

Customer specifications are always considered; however, many curtains are triple thick and sewn with nickel plated brass grommets that are rust proof.  Vinyl material is commonly used for privacy curtains due to the fact that they are the most durable to the daily wear and tear that the curtains experience.

What colors are privacy curtains and why?

For the most part, privacy curtains are a shade of blue or green.  This is common practice in medical settings because it is easier on the eyes for both patients and doctors.  Other colors that are neutral and easy on the eyes, such as lavender, are also acceptable.  Red is color that will not be found on a privacy curtain.

How do I measure for Hospital curtains?

The length of the curtain stops anywhere between 9 and 15 inches from the floor.  Also, there is an additional 3 inches of space between the track and the top of the curtain.  Therefore, it is advised to subtract 12 to 18 inches from the total height of the floor to ceiling measurement.  This number will be the length of the curtain.

Due to the fact that the curtain hangs with a little ripple when fully opened, it is strongly suggested that curtain measure at least 15% wider than the overhead track.  When in doubt, go with the higher measurement.

Why do hospital curtains have mesh at the top? 

The mesh top of a privacy curtain allows for more light to get into the space and also to allow for better air flow into the patients’ treatment area.  If required by the local fire codes, this meshing also allows for mounting of fire sprinklers.

How often should hospital curtains be changed? 

If and when the curtain is soiled, it should be changed immediately.  Not only is a visibly soiled curtain an offensive eyesore, but it also presents a health hazard for anyone who may come in contact with the curtain.  Also, when dirty hospital curtains are not replaced immediately, the possibility of dangerous viruses being spread from room to room increases.  

If not visible soiled, it is a good rule of thumb to clean and sanitized hospital curtains every 4 to 5 weeks.  It should go without saying, but obviously, privacy curtains should be changed when they become tattered and worn.

Are hospital curtains flame retardant?

Yes.  Privacy curtains used in medical environments are usually made from fire resistant material.

How do I know if my curtains are flame retardant?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a comprehensive test and if the curtain passes this test, it is considered flame resistant.  If the sample of fabric has a char length of less than 6.5 inches; has an “after flame” of less than two seconds; and the fabric sample does not continue to flame after touching the floor of the test room, then the material is considered flame retardant.

Can hospital curtains be washed? How often should privacy curtains be washed?

The short answer is “yes” hospitals curtains can be laundered.  The variables come into play when asked “how often should privacy curtains be washed and/or changed”.  For instance, when a privacy curtain is visible stained, it should be changed – no question.  If a patient is in a cubical for more than 30 days, it is a good idea to clean or change out the privacy curtain.  

Each manufacturer offers their cleaning solutions and time frame and they can vary from once to several times a year.

How do you wash hospital curtains?

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that dry cleaning is ineffective in eliminated and even reducing viruses and bacteria that have contaminated linens.  Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that all laundering options are not acceptable in this situation.  For instance, home laundering temperatures and usually too low and the detergent is not strong enough to destroy pathogens.  It is for this reason that only a healthcare standard launderer can clean and sanitize such material as a privacy curtain.

After each patient, the room plus the privacy curtain should be sanitized with a disinfectant that is comparable for non-porous surfaces.

What’s the best material for hospital curtains?

To help you make the best decision for the material to use for hospital curtains, keep in mind that it must be able to withstand:

  • Stains
  • Disinfectants
  • Offensive odors
  • Fluids
  • Heavy use by many individuals
  • Flames

Also, the material used for hospital curtains should be:

  • Anti-static to prevent interference with medical equipment
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Free of lead and other heavy metals
  • Contain an antimicrobial 

What’s the best brand for hospital curtains?

Some on the best manufacturers in the business include, but not limited to:

  • One the Right Track
  • Simply Snap
  • Sundance
  • Xanadu

Why are disposable privacy curtains a good option?

For highly infected areas and areas that incur high traffic such as emergency rooms and burn units, disposable privacy curtains are certainly a good option as they can be switched out quickly with a fresh clean curtain.

How often should disposable curtains be changed?

The installation date should be clearly marked on the curtain, and it is highly recommended that the curtain to be changed every six months.

Final Word

Whether you are a patient, health care worker, or part of the cleaning crew, we hope the above-referenced information allows you to rest easier knowing that the area you are providing or receiving medical treatment has been considered for your overall safety and wellbeing.