Ceiling Change Nearly Doubles Pressure Differential in Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital's Patient Room

The target was to maintain the minimum 0.020” w.c. under all conditions.

By HFT Staff
September 22, 2022

Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Middletown, Delaware, is a provider of inpatient rehabilitation following strokes, hip fractures and other complex neurological and orthopedic conditions. It contains 40 beds and includes one patient room that functions as a negative pressure infection isolation room. The room is 19 feet square and conditioned using one constant-volume supply box and one dedicated exhaust fan. 

The room was designed to operate at a minimum differential pressure of -0.020 inches of water column (InWC) in relation to the adjacent corridor. But the exhaust fan for the space could not always achieve the required -0.020 InWC pressure, which caused nuisance alarms and, in some instances, a reversal of the room pressure when the room doors opened. The actual exhaust air from the space was increased to the maximum extent possible for the exhaust fan. 

Instead of replacing the exhaust fan to achieve the required room differential pressure and to help eliminate the pressure variability, the facility replaced the existing ceiling panels with new gasketed Calla Health Zone AirAssure ceiling panels from Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions. When placed in a standard ceiling suspension system, AirAssure acoustical ceiling panels form a tight seal with the grid and reduce airflow leakage through the ceiling plane up to four times more than panels without AirAssure performance. 

According to Tim Roaten, president of Eastern Air Balance of Manheim, Pennsylvania, the target was to maintain the minimum 0.020 InWC under all conditions. By changing the ceiling panels, room pressure increased to 0.0368 InWC, providing an 84 percent buffer above the design minimum. There were no measurable changes to the supply and exhaust airflow in the space. The only change was the replacement of the existing ceiling. 

The increase eliminated nuisance room pressure alarms and the need to replace the exhaust fan. It also brought the room into compliance without other costly upgrades to the HVAC system. In addition, replacement of the ceiling only took one day, so extended downtime for the room was eliminated. Also eliminated were labor costs involved in caulking ceiling panel edges, an action some facilities are forced to undertake to achieve desired pressure. 

“We knew the ceiling would make a difference but didn’t know how much,” Roaten says. “It performed much better than we imagined, nearly doubling the pressure differential in the room. We simply weren’t expecting that much of an increase.” 

“It was a significant improvement,” says Kevin McNeil, the hospital’s director of plant operations. “We are now able to maintain the required pressure throughout the day, which is especially important because of the pandemic. If we need another room that requires negative pressure, I would highly recommend this system.” 




See the latest posts on our homepage Share

Topic Area: Interior Design


Recent Posts
Recent Posts

CMS Offers Resources for Florida Hospitals Affected by Hurricane


Resources and waivers aim to ensure hospitals and other facilities can continue to operate and provide access to care to those impacted by the hurricane.

9/30/2022

Jackson West Medical Center Uses Design to Focus on Patient Wellness


The design incorporates nature to better promote healing

9/30/2022

Leveraging BIM To Streamline Healthcare Facility Renovations


At a surgery center in Florida, building information modeling technology drives collaboration and efficiency.

9/30/2022

Tackling Infection in Senior Living Communities


Sodexo program implements enhanced cleaning protocols that fight the spread of infection to protect residents, staff and their families.

9/29/2022

The Role of Paper Towel Dispensers in Cutting Costs


As organizations search cost savings, more are taking a closer look at paper towel dispensers.

9/29/2022






FREE
NEWSLETTER

News & Updates • Webcast Alerts • Building Technologies

All fields are required.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.



You Might Like