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Isolations wards for highly contagious diseases

Isolation in nursing homes and hospitals is a spatial separation to protect against transmission by pathogens.

Thus, people and the environment are protected against a patient with an infectious disease. The patients are usually accommodated in isolation rooms. Some hospitals provide complete isolation wards.

Moreover, there are specific isolation wards in special treatment centres for highly infectious patients.

Class 3 isolation wards

On a class 3 isolation ward, all rooms are equipped with an anteroom; the ward itself - like an intensive care unit - can only be entered through an airlock room. A class 3 isolation ward is characterised by:

  • Private bathroom and toilet with direct access from the patient room
  • Dispenser for hand disinfection
  • Sufficient space to dress with protective suits and breathing masks
  • Separate disposal of protective clothing and masks
  • (Inter-) locking function of doors, blocking function
  • Underpressure in the patient room in comparison to the corridor with separate HEPA filtration for each room
  • A ward completely separated from the rest of the hospital
  • Also a separate diagnostic and treatment area

Special isolation wards (also known as high level isolation unit), class 4 isolation wards

A Special isolation ward (also known as high level isolation unit) or class 4 isolation ward is a hospital unit for patients suffering from highly infectious diseases such as Ebola (viral haemorrhagic fever).

In case of occupancy, these wards are blocked accordingly. Access for medical staff, supply and disposal is ensured via special lock systems and decontamination showers. Inside the unit, an underpressure control is installed. Waste is autoclaved separately – an inactivation facility is provided for the waste water.

A class 4 isolation ward takes other requirements into account in addition to the above-mentioned points for a class 3 ward, such as:

  • Tight containment design, to be disinfected or fumigated
  • Access only with a disinfectable and completely sealed protective suit plus mask
  • Waste water must be thermally or chemically disinfected.
  • Waste must be autoclaved separately.