What Is an Anteroom?
In several previous blog pieces we have talked about different types of isolation rooms, including positive air pressure rooms and negative air pressure rooms. In this blog we will talk about anterooms and how they can be used with other types of isolation rooms to maintain cleanliness within the room.
What Is an Anteroom?
Within a healthcare setting, isolation rooms are often designed to be used in tandem with anterooms in order to ensure that infectious particles do not escape from either room into the surrounding environment where they could infect others. The anteroom acts as a buffer between the isolation room and outside ambient air, allowing staff or visitors access to the isolation room without compromising air flow or air pressure.
An anteroom is equipped with two doors so that only one door will open at a time, controlling exposure to any contamination outside the anteroom. The door into the anteroom from the isolation room should be a self-closing door.
Anterooms, sometimes referred to as antechambers, are also used in other research or manufacturing settings. They are closed chambers where technicians can perform tasks that support the work of those working in the cleanroom. These tasks include gowning, labeling, and hand and forearm hygiene. The anteroom should be large enough so that staff can change and store their clothing without feeling awkward or bumping into things.
Often anterooms are equipped with cleanroom accessories such as pass through cabinets that allow occupants to transfer items to and from the isolation room without compromising air flow. To maintain cleanliness, both equipment and activity in the anteroom and isolation room should be carefully controlled.
Pressure Cascade Differential and Airflow
The difference in air pressure between the cleanroom or isolation room helps to control airflow and maintain cleanliness. Cleanrooms are held in positive pressure (except for negative air pressure rooms), and the pressure gradient of the clean zone must be greater than the anteroom’s is – which, in turn, must be greater than the area outside of the anteroom. The pressure cascade differential will make the air flow out of the clean room instead of into it, which prevents particulate matter or unfiltered air from entering.
With a negative air pressure isolation room or cleanroom, the pressure cascade differential must be the opposite to keep the air, as well as any hazardous products or infectious particles, from escaping the room. A dedicated exhaust system will maintain this negative pressure by removing more air than what is being supplied into the room. In healthcare situations, separate doors can be added for the ingress and egress of a patient’s bed directly in and out of the isolation room.
An isolation room and an anteroom work together to ensure that the cleanliness of the isolation room is never compromised. Technical Air Products’ isolation rooms were designed for customers looking to add cost-effective, non-permanent, flexible, clean-air environments to their facilities. If you have further questions about anterooms or isolation rooms, please feel free to contact us.