Regular and careful decontamination of patient rooms and hospital surfaces is mandatory in order to curb incidences of cross-infections. As pathogens continue to mutate to more resistant strains, routine cleaning methods are becoming ineffective, serving only to deposit new bacteria on surfaces being cleaned.
While good hand-washing and drying techniques can help curb the spread of such pathogens, it is necessary to take up more proactive techniques in order to kill off resistant bacterial strains.
According to research, pathogens in a hospital environment can be transmitted from persons (patients or caregivers) to hospital surfaces to other persons. However, this only happens when the pathogen can survive on said surfaces, i.e., where hospitals rely on routine cleaning products and procedures that have become more ineffective against pathogens over time.
Innovative cleaning technologies
Meticulous and effective decontamination is only possible where healthcare workers have been trained to implement newer technologies that are effective against resistant pathogen strains, making patient spaces truly safe.
In the last few decades, new and innovative approaches have been launched. However, these practices can only work in conjunction with, rather than in lieu of, the conventional practices of good hand hygiene and thorough patient room cleaning. Some of these include the following:
- Disinfecting robots – these are machines that are dispatched into sealed rooms after cleaning by healthcare workers. The machine blows a potent mist of hydrogen peroxide to saturate the room, disinfecting every surface and then converting the mist to oxygen and water vapour.
- Ultraviolet light – UV light disinfection was shown to reduce Clostridium difficile infections by as much as 82%, according to this study. The cost of the requisite technology could be prohibitive, however.
- Antimicrobial textiles and surfaces – these are surfaces that are perpetually active, i.e., they effectively kill off any bacteria/pathogens that land there. An example is the antimicrobial copper, which has been used to make bed rails, door knobs and call buttons. Similar technology has also been applied to make antimicrobial textiles, which are effective protection on softer surfaces like bedding.
- Cleaning management systems – these are tools/systems for monitoring and recording cleaning procedures. One such technology by Ecolab involves inspection of surfaces using a light pen to determine efficacy of facilities' cleaning practices. The results are then recorded on an app pre-installed into provided computer tablets.
While revolutionary, most of these new technologies are rather expensive. For cash-strapped facilities, staff restructuring to merge infection prevention with environmental services may effectively create an avenue for healthcare workers to be educated on the purposes of patient room cleaning: to curb sources of new infections rather than simply removing visible dirt.
In time, these facilities can find ways to raise the funds required to implement the above technologies for even better results. For more information, contact a company like Delron Carpet Cleaning Service.Share