Ensuring A Clean Environment For Healthcare
Ricky Smith, UK field sales manager, Truvox International, explains how keeping floors clean can help reduce the spread of infections:
CONTACT with healthcare professionals is something none of us can avoid. Whether it’s a trip to
the dentist, a routine operation, or a visit to a residential home to see an elderly relative, everyone’s life is punctuated, at one level or another, with regular visits to healthcare settings.
Controlling the spread of infections or viruses is vitally important for healthcare providers. People visiting or receiving treatment in these environments are already vulnerable to the spread of infection. So making sure that effective cleaning regimes are in place for waiting rooms, corridors, reception areas and wards is key.
A clean and welcoming environment is also important from an aesthetic point of view, engendering feelings of well-being and trust in people who may be anxious or unwell. Healthcare- associated infections (HCAIs) is a term that covers a wide range of infections including MRSA, MSSA, E.coli and C.difficile. HCAIs are infections that develop as a direct result of medical or surgical treatment or contact in a healthcare setting.
Healthcare providers can help to minimise the risk of cross infection in various ways including:
• Having a regular programme of infection control education and training for staff;
• Ensuring that infection control practices and standards are met through regular checks; and
• Keeping the environment clean.
According to the Department of Health: ‘HCAIs cost the health service around £1bn a year.
In addition, evidence suggests that service users with an MRSA bacteraemium spend on average an additional 10 days in hospital, while those with C.difficile spend an additional 21 days in hospital. Reducing HCAIs helps the NHS make the most of its resources and deliver more for its service users.’ The key to reducing the incidence of HCAIs and cross contamination is to keep caring environments cleaned to a standard as near to ultimate hygiene as possible. To attain such standards in high traffic, high risk areas such as A&E and operating theatres, they should be cleaned rigorously at least once, sometimes several times per day.
The amount of traffic in other areas, such as wards, out-patient clinics and bathrooms will influence how frequently they are cleaned. Given the physical size of most healthcare settings, and the fact that they operate 24-7, floor cleaning machines must be compact and manoeuvrable to reach into tight corners and fit into smaller areas.
They must also be as quiet as possible, especially where cleaning has to be carried out near patients, and safe, both for the machine operator and for other staff and patients.
Above all, they should be capable of doing particularly important tasks, like cleaning under beds and furniture. For carpeted areas vacuum cleaners that feature HEPA filtration to trap spores and organisms will help with infection control. With tiled floors healthcare providers should look for machines that scrub deeply – always ask the supplier the depth to which a scrubber dryer scrubs. Deep scrubbing uses less water and less chemicals than shallow scrubbing to remove grit and soil. Machines with cylindrical brushes exert greater pressure on floors and can dig more deeply into tile and grout areas. Less use of chemicals means lower costs; deeper scrubbing means cleaner results.
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.