To protect healthcare workers, other patients, and visitors from exposure to airborne infectious diseases, patients in hospital settings sometimes need to be placed in airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs). AIIRs contain specific engineered features to isolate and more-quickly remove potentially infectious patient aerosols so that they do not infect others. Isolation rooms are expensive, costing about $30,000 more to construct than a typical patient room. As a result, not all facilities have isolation rooms or have enough isolation rooms to handle an epidemic/pandemic.

To address the need for multiple isolation rooms, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed the Ventilated Headboard to isolate patients while protecting healthcare personnel from airborne infectious diseases. The ventilated headboard is inexpensive, easy to erect, safe, and scientifically proven.

The ventilated headboard consists of lightweight, sturdy, and adjustable aluminum framing with a retractable plastic canopy. The ventilated headboard is not a filtration system in itself, rather it is a special inlet system designed to provide a strategically improved air intake for a corresponding high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filter unit.  Together, the ventilated headboard and HEPA system can provide multiple isolation units or “surge isolation capacity” in traditional patient rooms, triage stations, emergency medical shelters, or even as emergency/temporary support options for displaced population shelters.

  • The ventilated headboard provides near-instant capture of patient-generated aerosol.
  • Laboratory tests show the capture and removal of over 99% of airborne infectious-sized aerosol.
  • The retractable canopy allows for hands-on healthcare procedures while still offering protection to attending healthcare personnel.
  • The canopy allows low-velocity air currents to capture/remove contaminants without irritating the patient.
  • The canopy material (plastic sheeting) is held into place by removable retainer clips and can easily be replaced between patients.
  • In addition to the direct-capture capabilities of the ventilated headboard, the HEPA fan/filtration system provides continuous air cleaning to the surrounding room air.

NIOSH is providing Headboard Assembly Kit Instructions for 5-Bed, Single Bed and Isolation Tents HERE

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