Planning a Sluice Room

The transfer of infection between residents in group living such as a care home is a natural hazard, and guidelines and monitoring procedures are being progressively imposed to develop quality care awareness.

Maintaining infection control compliance and controlling infection covers a wide range of procedures in adult care, both domestic and nursing. Human waste is a significant source of infection risk, and all establishments concerned with care, regardless of size, must provide facilities to ensure its hygienic disposal. The addition of managed routines, particularly in the sluice room or dirty utility room, also helps to reduce cross contamination risks.

Whatever the reason you are planning a new sluice room or refurbishing a tired one there are several crucial factors which need to be taken into consideration relating to its construction, the equipment it contains and the method of operation its users will adopt. Although a sluice room is not a glamourous area of a hospital or care home, care needs to be taken with the equipment within it to ensure it is compliant, robust, and efficient to help reduce infection and disease and prevent cross contamination between carers and residents.


Planning and designing your sluice room

Ideally, a sluice room should be planned at the outset, just like the kitchen and laundry. The number of sluice rooms required will depend on the number of floors and the layout of the care home or hospital. The functions and the services required will have to be taken into consideration, such as:

  • Hot and cold water inlets
  • Power supplies and voltages
  • Soil outlets and vents
  • Floor and wall finishes
  • Adequate ventilation

Remember that a sluice room may be used 24/7, so a site should be chosen where noise from water or clattering hardware will not be a nuisance.


Planning A Sluice Room? We’re here to help!

If you’re unsure of the design, equipment or the requirements of your sluice room then chat with our sluice room experts.

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    Wherever possible, the room should be divided into ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ areas. Each room needs a sink, preferably with a drainer. Taps are a source of contact by hands and automatic taps or those with elbow levers are preferred. Push or foot-operated soap dispensers are recommended. Dedicated hand-washing facilities are needed.

    This illustration shows an example of a practical sluice room layout.

    Sluice Room Construction

    The materials used to cover the walls of a sluice room need to be wipeable and free from joins, cracks or crevices which could possibly harbour bacteria and play host and allow a breeding ground to develop.

    A durable, reliable, and hygienic floor covering is crucial to help combat infection. This must be robust enough to withstand regular cleaning by both manual and mechanical methods. It must be installed with seamless welding and cove and caving skirting to enable easy cleaning with a traditional mop. The Health and Safety of care workers is paramount in every area of a building, especially sluice rooms, and all flooring must have anti-slip properties.

    The installation of an efficient extractor fan will eradicate offensive odours and prevent them from entering the more opulent areas of the building and causing upset to patients or residents.

    The access to the room must be relatively simple for staff members and carers but totally inaccessible to patients and residents if cross-contamination is to remain as low as possible.


    Sluice Room Interiors

    Stainless steel is an extraordinarily strong and durable material, it is the perfect choice for sluice rooms as it is a smooth surface that is free from crevices for which bacteria can take hold. Superior quality stainless steel equipment will last a very long time if is cared for correctly and not abused. Mechanical washer disinfectors for cleaning and decontamination receptacles which have held bodily fluids must be checked and serviced regularly to ensure they are fulfilling their purpose in the sluice room. Sinks, where installed, should be easy to clean and have taps which can easily be operated without scolding.

    The layout of the room should permit its users to follow a logical flow to dispose of human bodily fluids without the risk of cross-contamination. A simple clean side and dirty side is favoured by most homes and acceptable to regulators. The designated hand wash basin should be located as close to the exit as possible to ensure hands are thoroughly cleaned prior to leaving the room. Taps on the handwash basin should be easy to operate, it must not have a plug and cannot be used for any other purpose.

    Guidance to ensure that prevention and control of infection issues are identified, analysed and planned for at the earliest stage of the provision of new or refurbished healthcare facilities is contained within HBN 00-09 – ‘Infection control in the built environment: design and planning’

    It is also important for all homes to familiarise themselves with government guidance for infection prevention.

    In an ideal world, sluice rooms would be a generous size to accommodate lots of equipment with space to move around easily, however, in reality, they are often quite small and need to be cleverly designed to achieve infection control compliance.

    The two drawings show how compliant convenience can be achieved in a home which has a small space, and one which is fortunate to have a generous-sized sluice room. On the right, we have a small sluice room.


    Here on the left, we have a larger sluice room which is able to accommodate a lot more equipment including storage cupboards and a sluice sink.

    What Stanbridge equipment is needed in a sluice room?

    The term ‘Sluice Room’ is used loosely to define a utensil washer/disinfector with a back-up of a WC and a designated sink for washing.

    The new generation of machines can carry out the functions of both slop hopper and washer/disinfector. The automatic washer/disinfector for commode bucket, bedpan and urinals is, however, a far more sophisticated piece of hardware than has long been the norm in NHS hospitals.

    The term ‘disinfection’ is used to describe the ‘bug kill’ cycle. Moist heat is used from an incorporated steam generator to heat each utensil. It is NOT liquid from a bottle.

    The minimum requirement is 80 deg C +for 60 seconds. Stanbridge machines usually attain 80 deg C+ for 70 seconds, followed by a cold rinse to cool the receptacle. Interlocks prevent opening during the cycle.

    Our machines have been engineered over years of testing, establishing effective cleaning and disinfecting of the specific utensils used in human waste disposal.

    Designed for a function, normally they will accommodate bedpans, commode buckets, urine bottles or various bowls and utensils.

    Our bedpan washer and disinfector machines open with a pneumatic foot pedal to give the operator full hand control of the receptacle. They have cold and hot washes. The cold wash removes the soil, the hot wash removes extra stubborn waste; then the items are disinfected.

    Utensils removed from the machine should be placed on storage racks adjacent to the machine; this is the clean area. If used soiled items have to be left prior to washing they should have a separate ‘dwelling place’ not in the clean area. A trolley or stainless steel worktop should be provided.

    Our expert team can provide sluice room designs and CAD Drawings and advice on compliant layouts of your Sluice Room.

    Call Stanbridge today to arrange your FREE SITE SURVEY on 01689 806500 or Contact Us.


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    If you would like to speak with a member of the team at Stanbridge, please feel free to contact us using the details below, or alternatively complete the contact form on this page and we will get back to you shortly.


    Stanbridge Ltd
    Unit 78, Powder Mill Lane
    DA1 1JA

    Tel: 01689 806500

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