Q: Are fans allowed in patient rooms? What about in the nurses station? This has been an ongoing debate, so thought I’d go to the expert.
This is yet another example of how wide-open compliance can be; and interestingly enough, this is a topic upon which The Joint Commission has actually commented and provides a wee bit of direction.
Ultimately, it falls back on the individual organizations to determine whether or not the risks associated with the use of fans in various locations can be appropriately managed. For good or ill, occupant comfort is a big sticking point, especially in buildings with older HVAC equipment or less HVAC-friendly design (nothing like opening some windows to mess up air balancing). And there will always be the struggle in semi-private rooms in which one occupant is too hot and the other is too cold, and we get to play Goldilocks.
You can find the The Joint Commission information on their website under the Frequently Asked Questions section. Plus you can find more guidance on the use of fans as it relates to infection control on our sister blog OSHA Healthcare Advisor, along with temperature considerations in the lab.