Medical and Healthcare

medical-healthcareWith the increase in multi-drug resistant organisms, healthcare cleaning and disinfecting has become an even more important component of infection prevention strategy within healthcare facilities. An ideal cleaning program will reduce the risk of healthcare associated infections (HAI’s) while greatly enhancing the facility’s image. This is done by creating a clean and sanitary environment that positively impacts patients, visitors and staff.

A Strong Foundation

Environmental services (EVs) and infection prevention (IP) departments continue to face the challenge of preventing the transmission of HAI’s. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC), one in 25 US hospital patients acquires at least one HAI. The first step towards a cleaner, safer environment is to establish a comprehensive training program.

Training is a key element of a successful infection prevention program. Successful training programs clearly outline expectations, including what to clean, when to clean, and how to clean. It is critical that cleaning crews understand just how important their role is in preventing infection and creating safe and healthy environments. Establishing standardized procedures and cleaning methods is key to delivering consistent results.

The following tips should be followed to create clean and safe patient care environments:

  • Select the right disinfectant: Effective cleaning and disinfection can only be accomplished by following the disinfectant instructions. To deliver a safe surface, it is important to ensure that dwell times are achieved and all surfaces are properly cleaned. When selecting a disinfectant, consider its effectiveness against pathogens of concern, its safety profile. When reviewing your procedures, it is important to determine if the dwell time required can be realistically achieved within cleaning processes. By using a system with single-use cloths or wipes, we will improve results and reduce the risk of cross contamination.
  • Focus on high-touch surfaces: Everyone has microorganisms on their skin and in their digestive tract, and these organisms can be shed into the environment through skin and body fluids. Some of these microorganisms are pathogenic, and these disease-causing organisms can live on surfaces for extended periods. Since these nearby high-touch surfaces are often the most contaminated, they present the highest risk and need more frequent cleaning. Daily cleaning and disinfection of all surfaces, especially high-touch surfaces, can reduce risk of infection.
  • Practice proper hand hygiene: If professional cleaning crews don’t adhere to hand hygiene protocols, they are working against their cleaning and disinfection goals. To prevent cross contamination, staff should regularly wash or sanitize their hands.

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