Preventing Infections With Cleaning & Hygiene

Cleaning and hygiene continue to play a central role in the fight against healthcare associated infections (HAIs). These infections, particularly those caused by multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs), represent a significant impact on patient morbidity and mortality and increase the financial burden on healthcare systems. Contaminated environmental surfaces have been shown to be an important source for transmission of HAIs, particularly through touch and subsequent personal contact[i].

Effective cleaning and disinfection can decrease environmental pathogens, reducing the risk of infections, but hospital environments are complex, which can often result in cleaning that is inadequate. Suppliers continue to develop innovations that offer healthcare cleaning teams wider choice to implement the most effective solution to meet infection prevention targets.

UV-C

One of the techniques that is growing in popularity is the use of UV-C disinfection as an adjunct technology to complement and enhance the effectiveness of manual disinfection processes, particularly in hospital settings where HAIs are of major concern.

UV-C has long been proven as an effective technology to reduce contamination and the potential for infection. This short-wavelength ultraviolet light kills or inactivates microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA, leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions. It can disinfect surfaces quickly and effectively[ii]. Deploying UV-C alongside traditional disinfectants reduced HAIs by 33%.[iii], according to one recent paper. At least 40 scientific studies measure its biocidal effect on micro-organisms or the impact on HAI rates. There is also much less chance of pathogens developing any form of resistance because UV-C disinfection is a physical rather than chemical process.

UV-C provides additional assurance that frequent-touch and hard-to-clean surfaces have been disinfected. It represents a hands-, chemical- and fume-free way to implement safer disinfection. There are many UV-C devices offered in the market with varying designs. The latest developments make the process simpler to utilise and more practical in real-life settings.

Since UV-C disinfection involves light waves, it is important to ensure light sources are parallel to the surfaces most likely to be contaminated or frequently touched in a patient environment. Several studies have shown that the power and speed of UV-C disinfection can be impacted by distance and angle. The strength of the UV-C light decreases the further away it gets from the light source, following the inverse square law. Because of this, the design of the UV-C device can impact the strength of dose applied to surfaces, impacting the level and speed of disinfection.

Systems delivering UV-C must therefore ensure the maximum amount hits the target surface to give the most powerful disinfection. One way to achieve this is to mount the UV-C sources on arms that can be positioned independently and pointed towards and set as close as possible to the target surfaces. This ensures more of the UV-C produced will hit the surface at right angles and at the minimum distance to give the best disinfection.

Despite the advantages of UV-C, few cost-effective practical systems were until recently available for routine use in healthcare settings[iv]. The latest devices now produce powerful UV-C light at the optimum wavelengths to provide fast broad-spectrum disinfection in as little as three minutes. This is more than twice as fast as fogging and almost twice as effective as traditional cleaning and disinfection alone in destroying the pathogens that cause healthcare associated infections.

There are other practical advantages of UV-C technologies. With fogging, for example, areas must be taken out of commission to allow equipment which is often large and cumbersome to be installed. This typically takes far longer than the disinfection time. Afterwards, the equipment must be removed and the area allowed to dry before it can be used. With UV-C, the equipment is simply wheeled in, used and removed within a matter of minutes. That makes it a viable option for disinfection in busy and high throughput settings with little or no impact on room availability. This means the technology can be used throughout a hospital, including patient rooms, operating rooms and bathrooms. Such systems can also be used on patient care equipment, fixtures, keyboards, monitors, and workstations.

Targeted Approach

While innovative technologies such as UV-C offer new approaches to infection prevention, the healthcare sector continues to evolve its understanding of the relationship between infection rates, surface disinfection and hand hygiene. One of the newest ideas in this area builds on the concept of the five moments of hand hygiene that is widely understood and employed in healthcare settings.

Studies suggest that somewhere between 20 and 40 per cent of HAIs arise when a healthcare worker passes on pathogens from one patient to the next. Pathogens can also be deposited on frequent touch surfaces and survive for extended periods, sometimes months, allowing them to be touched and passed on to other patients. There is a higher risk of acquiring certain pathogens if a room was previously occupied by a colonised or infected patient. All of this helps explain why effective hand hygiene and surface disinfection are important when aiming to prevent infections.

However, there is a growing realisation that even with high levels of compliance, the tried and tested methodologies could be improved. Rigorous daily cleaning of all surfaces, but especially those that are likely to be touched by patients or staff, is essential. But in many settings, some of those surfaces are more likely than others to be touched by multiple people throughout the day. Under those circumstances the idea of a once-a-day disinfection could be inadequate and put patients and staff at increased risk. In reality, studies show that with various people coming into a patient’s room during a normal day, a bed rail could be touched around 250 times by nurses, medical staff, clinical and non-clinical staff, and visitors.

The latest thinking is to adopt a more targeted approach. All areas are cleaned and disinfected daily, as before, but additional attention and focus is paid to frequent touch and high-risk surfaces. In practice, this means items such as bed rails, table-tops and light switches are cleaned much more often. Going further, studies suggest that additional disinfection at the point of care (where three elements come together: patient, healthcare worker and care or treatment involving contact with the patient or their surroundings) will help reduce infection rates. This can be distilled into five critical points:

  • Before placing a food/drink on an over-bed table
  •  After any procedure involving faeces or respiratory secretions within the patient bed space
  •  Before/after any aseptic practice (wounds, lines, etc.)
  •  After patient bathing (within bed space)
  •  After any object used by/on a patient touches the floor

The idea is in effect to disinfect on demand and clean hands and disinfect surfaces before and after each of these critical moments. Put another way, it is everyone’s job to disinfect, but it is not everyone’s job to disinfect everything every time. However, to be effective these processes must be simple and accessible so that they can be completed whenever needed. They must also be acceptable to healthcare workers and visitors, for example the products used should be non-hazardous and non-irritating. Finally, processes must be fast because anything that adds time or becomes a burden is less likely to be done.

With hand hygiene and surface disinfection critical to these new as well as traditional approaches it follows that there will be innovations in these areas too.

Hand Hygiene

The best healthcare sites globally have reduced their infection rates to around five per cent through diligence and a rigorous application of best practice. In the UK the average infection rate is nearer to ten per cent.

The World Health Organisation promotes hand hygiene through a number of high-profile initiatives. Its annual Clean Your Hands Day, for example, was established in 2005 and has been a global success. This and related WHO programmes are based around the concept of a multimodal hand hygiene improvement strategy. This incorporates five components or building blocks including system change, training, evaluation, awareness and an institutional safety climate that lead to long-term and sustainable improvements. This framework is complemented by the WHO’s focus on the five moments of hand hygiene – the critical times when healthcare professionals should wash their hands: before touching a patient; before a procedure; after body fluid exposure; after touching a patient; after touching patient surroundings.

These recommendations can mean a lot of washing during a normal day. This is not only time-consuming but conventional soaps can strip natural oils which protect the skin, leading to an increased risk of damage through conditions such as dermatitis. Under these circumstances it is sensible to use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that kills pathogens faster than soap without removing protective oils.

Whatever products are chosen, they must be available and ready to use whenever required. Dispensers should be situated conveniently to encourage regular and proper use. At the same time, they should ideally contain enough product to prolong the interval between refills and therefore minimise the risk of outages and reduce necessary restocking burdens.

Another way to encourage compliance is to monitor usage. While it is rarely desirable to monitor individuals, it is helpful to know how often a particular dispenser has been used and how much product has been consumed. Knowing how many times a dispenser has been used and comparing this with the number of patient contacts by the clinical and nursing team should give a reasonable indication of whether they are complying with agreed standards. If not, additional awareness and training can be provided and the subsequent change in usage patterns assessed.

Surface Disinfection

Surface disinfection is another critical aspect of infection prevention and it is vital to choose the right products. Healthcare cleaning professionals have traditionally selected disinfectants with chlorine as the active ingredient (usually as bleaches) for cleaning hard surfaces.

While widely used, the drawbacks of these formulations in terms of effectiveness and safety are well known. Alternative formulations with Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) as the active ingredient offer numerous advantages with few limitations[v] and their use is growing in popularity.

The key requirement from any disinfectant in healthcare settings is efficacy – to prevent the introduction of potentially harmful pathogens and infections. These can range from hospital associated infections such as MRSA and C. diff to infections common in any setting, such as influenza and Norovirus. Effective surface disinfection is especially important in healthcare because patients are likely to be frail and vulnerable.

It is important to select disinfectants capable of killing pathogens of concern. Problem pathogens, such as norovirus and C. diff., might not be killed by conventional disinfectants. Contact times must be realistically short so that any pathogens are killed before the surface dries.

Disinfectants containing AHP are highly effective against a wide range of viruses, spores, yeasts, and fungi found in healthcare, including C. diff, MRSA, Norovirus, E. coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This broad-spectrum efficacy has been tested to the latest EN standards and submitted into the Biocidal Products Regulations (BPR) – a standard which all actives and disinfectants need to pass. AHP simplifies processes because just one product is needed – using numerous alternative products to provide the same level of performance adds unwanted complexity.

Products containing AHP can be supplied in ready-to-use and ultra-concentrate formats. They can be used at different dilution rates for various applications from daily cleaning to terminal disinfection to offer the right combination of efficacy and economy. Depending on the specific formulation, these products are effective against viruses, spores (including C. diff), yeasts and fungi in one minute or less, meeting demand for highly effective products with shorter contact or dwell times.

Traditional products containing chlorine are generally not as effective on spores and require significantly longer contact times. Products containing AHP have been tested and shown to kill viruses such as Norovirus in up to 30 seconds and the most persistent spores such as C. diff in one minute. Products containing AHP offer additional benefits that simplify day-to-day cleaning operations. With more cleaning taking place while patients are present, processes must be completed safely and efficiently, so as not to create an unpleasant environment or put patients at risk.

AHP degrades to oxygen and water alone shortly after use which helps make formulations containing it safer to use. Chlorine-based products are suspected of aggravating asthma and other respiratory problems, and forming chlorine compounds in the atmosphere. Another consideration is that some products containing AHP have no safety classification whereas chlorine-based products usually carry a hazard symbol.

Breaking down to water and oxygen alone means products with AHP leave little or no residue on surfaces, helping to promote the appearance of the area being cleaned. They can be used safely on a wider range of surfaces, including wool and other fabrics, with reduced risk of damage. Chlorine based products on the other hand will corrode or degrade many surfaces with regular or prolonged use. Nor can they be used as part of a microfibre system because they damage the material, severely restricting their disinfection potency.

The variety of disinfectants has grown in recent years, as manufacturers have developed solutions for specific daily and problem-solving tasks. It is therefore important to match the product to the specific application. This optimises cleaning performance and reduces inefficiencies, poor results, and the need for repeat cleaning. Reputable manufacturers will provide advice on the most suitable products from their ranges to use in every situation. They should also be able to supply the documentation and evidence with independent test data to support product claims.

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities have a wider range of infection prevention tools at their disposal than ever before. The choice available means that there is greater flexibility to specify the right combination to meet infection prevention compliance and reduction targets in the quickest, simplest and most effective way that integrates with the facility’s other processes. The choices can be complex but leading cleaning and hygiene suppliers with experience in healthcare will be able to work with clinical, nursing and housekeeping teams to devise and implement robust infection prevention policies.

Notes:

[i] Centre for Disease Control & Prevention

[ii] https://drive.google.com/open?id=1L739Z6JfBtiJWkJ8t_adBpqJ7sZU-Nmr

[iii] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31588-4/fulltext

[iv] https://drive.google.com/open?id=1WKl25oc7EvQQ4B2DejJP0PBlgYo9f_DANWVvbuDz77g

[v] Teska, Peter & Rushworth, A & Theelen, M & Jongsma, J. (2013). O018: Evaluation of the efficacy of a novel hydrogen peroxide cleaner disinfectant concentrate. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control. 2. 10.1186/2047-2994-2-S1-O18.

Choosing the Right Hand Hygiene Product

The wide choice of hand hygiene products available from leading suppliers can make initial selection a little bewildering. Manufacturers like Diversey spend a good deal of time and money developing and testing formulations for particular settings and applications, and a product that offers excellent performance in one may not always be the best in another. 

In healthcare, for example, the overriding need is for infection prevention. Hand care products must therefore be effective against common pathogens. But they must also be suitable for frequent use because staff, in particular, will need to disinfect their hands before and after each task and before and after contact with each patient.

The requirements in food service are different. Maintaining food safety is a priority. Everyone should wash their hands between tasks and when swapping from handling raw ingredients to cooked items and vice versa. Formulations therefore need to be effective against the type of pathogens likely to be found in food environments. They should also be suitable for frequent use and contain no perfumes to eliminate the risk of tainting the foods being handled, prepared and served.

In hotels and other hospitality settings the priority is likely to be the overall experience for the guest or customer. Formulations are more likely to contain perfumes and skin conditioners that make the products as pleasant to use as possible. 

At Diversey, we offer a wide range of hand hygiene products for applications including healthcare, food service, hospitality and many other settings. As a leading supplier with years of experience, we can advise on the right product for every setting and situation.

Products available in the IntelliCare system, for example, are all supplied in the same type and size of self-contained pouch. That means the products are completely interchangeable without making any changes to the dispenser. This saves time, reduces complexity and allows users to switch products more easily if their requirements change. Using a larger-than-average pouch size means it contains more doses. That means the pouches last longer before they need replacing. This removes burdens from the team responsible for looking after the dispensers. It also helps to maintain the product availability that is at the heart of good hand hygiene.

Avoiding the Empty Threat

To those who wash their hands correctly, there can surely be nothing more irritating than an empty product dispenser in the washroom.

Lack of a suitable product – soap, disinfectant or sanitiser – makes it near on impossible to wash your hands effectively. This can increase the risk of spreading infections, either through hand-to-hand contact or by contaminating objects or surfaces that are later touched by other people.

In settings where people are already ill or vulnerable – such as hospitals, care homes or schools – improper hand hygiene can present an added risk to their safety. Illnesses that are little more than an inconvenience to a fit and healthy adult can present greater challenges to people in these settings.

Maintaining product availability is the basis of good hand hygiene. It is imperative that those responsible for looking after dispensers check them regularly to make sure they contain enough of the right product and are working correctly. 

Modern dispensers usually allow a visual check of product levels without touching the unit. The use of product cartridges or pouches ensures empty and full containers can be swapped in just a few seconds. There should be no excuse for a dispenser being empty. 

The latest generation systems such as Diversey’s IntelliCare go further. They issue alerts when they are nearly empty or when their batteries are running low. That allows housekeeping, building care and cleaning teams to respond even more quickly to ensure the continuity of product that helps maintain high levels of compliance.

Hand Hygiene: Are You Doing It Right?

Studies suggest around 80 per cent of all infectious diseases – including Influenza and the common cold – are spread by touch. Stopping those infections before they have a chance to spread is critical. The simplest way is through basic hand hygiene.

This should not be difficult. And yet, despite the fact we all do it (or at least should do it) several times a day, it seems we don’t always get it right. Let’s break it down a bit.

Are you washing your hands at the right time?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has developed a highly effective set of guidelines to help improve hand hygiene in healthcare settings. These “five moments of hand hygiene” recommend healthcare workers should wash their hands:

  • before touching a patient
  • before clean/aseptic procedures
  • after body fluid exposure/risk
  • after touching a patient
  • after touching patient surroundings

The same principles can be applied to almost any setting. From this it follows that we should all wash our hands:

  • before handling food
  • after going to the toilet
  • after coughing, sneezing or using a tissue
  • when switching between handling raw food ingredients meat and ready-to-eat or cooked foods
  • after handling money
  • after handling waste or litter
  • after touching dirty surfaces
  • after picking up something from the floor
  • after any other activity that contaminates hands

Are you doing it right?

We all think we know how to wash our hands properly, but studies show that we generally do not. Most of the time we don’t spend enough time to let soaps or sanitisers to do their job. Or we don’t apply soap or sanitiser to the whole hand. That means the pathogens that cause illnesses can remain on our hands and spread to other people or contaminate new surfaces. The NHS has a useful video that shows how to wash hands properly.

Are you using effective products?

In many situations, using soap and water will be good enough to clean the hands. In other settings, such as health care and food service, a suitable hand disinfectant can provide additional protection and assurance. Diversey offers a complete range of products including soaps, sanitisers and creams that can be used in different settings and industries to provide the right level of hygiene, protection and infection prevention.

Are these products readily available?

Whatever products are used, it is important to ensure they are available whenever they are needed. That means providing a suitable product at the point of use, checking bottles or dispensers regularly throughout the day and topping up as necessary.

Diversey’s IntelliCare system helps to improve hand hygiene convenience and compliance. The dispenser can be used with a wide range of hand care products – soaps, sanitisers and creams – so that operators can choose the one most suited to their specific requirement.

Each product is supplied in the same design and size of pouch to enable complete interchangeability and flexibility. The pouches are larger than average which, combined with the dispenser’s excellent dosing control, ensures the maximum interval between refills. The dispenser usually operates in contactless mode but switches automatically to manual mode if its battery becomes depleted. It also issues alerts when product or battery levels are getting low so that they can be replaced before they run out. All of this helps to ensure hand hygiene products are always available.

You can learn more about IntelliCare in our introductory video:

Moonbeam Makes Light Work of Infection Prevention

Moonbeam3 delivers powerful UV-C light to provide fast broad area disinfection of high-touch surfaces in care homes and hospitals in as little as three minutes. This is much faster than fogging and almost twice as effective as traditional cleaning and disinfection alone in destroying the pathogens that cause healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

UV-C penetrates and destroys the DNA in the cells of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and spores. This stops these pathogens multiplying and causing infections. Moonbeam3 therefore offers facilities an alternative and completely hands, chemical and fume-free way to complement existing processes with safer high-performance disinfection.

The device is ideal for adjunct cleaning surfaces accidentally missed during regular disinfection processes and for frequently-touched, hard-to-clean surfaces and intricate equipment. It can be used in patient rooms, bathrooms, treatment rooms, and on patient care equipment, keyboards, monitors, and workstations.

Moonbeam3’s three articulating, light-producing arms can be positioned independently to direct light efficiently and closely onto the target surface. This ensures the maximum amount of light hits surfaces perpendicularly to maximise infection prevention results.

The device is easy to use with push-button activation and short operating cycles. The unique design of Moonbeam3 with its articulating arms, small size and portability allows it to be used in more places than alternative solutions. Its high-efficiency dosing increases disinfection speed which reduces labour and operating costs.

Simple but effective failsafe features including motion detection sensors prevent accidental exposure to UV-C. Periodic maintenance is limited to bulb replacement, with no tools required.

Different Approach to Hard Surface Cleaning in Healthcare

Healthcare FM and building care teams often use separate products for cleaning and disinfecting hard surfaces in general and non-critical areas. It’s a tried and tested approach that is accepted practice in many facilities. But recent innovations raise the prospect of using a single cleaner-disinfectant formulation that simplifies processes, saves time and improves productivity without compromising on any infection prevention capability. Replacing conventional products with a cleaner-disinfectant with proven infection prevention properties is easy to do and ensures that most surfaces are disinfected as a matter of routine during daily cleaning.

Oxivir Excel is a fast-acting cleaner-disinfectant that can replace general surface cleaning products for routine tasks and provide affordable ongoing infection protection. Effective against viruses such as Norovirus in just 30 seconds, it is one of a number of Diversey products containing innovative Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) as the active ingredient.

AHP is a patented blend of commonly used, safe ingredients that when combined with low levels of hydrogen peroxide dramatically increase its germicidal potency and cleaning performance. Tested to the latest EN standards, disinfectants containing AHP are highly effective against a wide range of viruses, spores, yeasts, and fungi including Influenza, Norovirus, Clostridium difficile (C. diff), MRSA, E. coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This broad-spectrum efficacy simplifies cleaning processes because just one product is needed.

Diversey also offers disposable ready-to-use Oxivir Excel wipes. Convenient for on-the-spot use, these are also ideal for giving portable or high touch items such as remote controls a quick clean. A ready-to-use Oxivir Spill Kit is also available for acting quickly to contain and remove body spillages. These kits are like first-aid kits for body spillages and also contain a 750ml Oxivir Excel spray, along with absorbent granules and all the personal protection equipment (PPE) needed to deal with spillages.

Products that contain AHP offer an effective alternative to formulations with chlorine compounds as the active ingredient. AHP degrades to oxygen and water alone shortly after use which helps make formulations containing it safer to use on a wider range of surfaces. Chlorine-based products are suspected of aggravating asthma and other respiratory problems and forming chlorine compounds in the atmosphere. This is one of the reasons why these disinfectants are being replaced by alternative products, especially where lots of people may be present. Another is that many AHP-based formulations have no safety classification whereas chlorine-based products usually carry a hazard symbol.

We’ll be highlighting the capabilities of Oxivir Excel at the forthcoming Healthcare FM event at the National Conference Centre near Birmingham on 12 June.

Does Drinking More Water Prevent Infections?

Many of us are familiar with the advice to drink two litres of water each day because it’s good for our health. This advice is based on the idea that because we are mostly made of water, staying well hydrated will help keep our bodies and minds in tip-top condition.

But recent research has now hinted at a link between drinking enough water and our ability to resist common illnesses, especially as we get older. These findings could be particularly important for vulnerable people admitted to long term care homes and similar facilities. Studies show that around 10 per cent of elderly patients admitted as emergencies were dehydrated.

We all become more susceptible to dehydration as we get older, for a variety of reasons, but the impact when we are ill could be more severe. Escherichia coli (often called E. coli), for example, is one of the most commonly reported serious illnesses in the UK. In addition to the severity of the illness itself, it can cause complications such as urinary tract infections in patients and residents. Other research has shown that many bloodstream infections to have a urinary source.

This could explain why drinking more water might help reduce these infections because the bacteria that cause them are flushed out of the body sooner and more easily.

The study also tested whether patients and residents would drink more water. This showed that even when encouraged to drink 1500 ml a day, the average consumption was only slightly more than 1000 ml. There was some evidence that patients would drink more water if it were offered as fruit juices instead.

More research is needed but these recent findings – when considered alongside existing studies – raise an intriguing possibility: could cleaning teams help their care professional colleagues to reduce infection rates by encouraging residents to drink more water throughout the day?

Cleaning teams already play a significant role in fighting infections in care homes, whether through regimes designed to prevent and remove infections from surfaces where they can be touched or by enabling simple and effective hand hygiene. By definition, cleaning team members will be working in these facilities throughout the day and are more than likely interacting with residents, visitors and staff. It should be a relatively easy step to encourage residents to drink their water or juice regularly but – just as important – to ensure these vital liquids are always available.

Sustainable Hand Hygiene

Although food safety will be a priority, businesses serving food face many other regulatory and market-driven pressures, not least to adopt processes that are more sustainable. Choosing the right kitchen hygiene products can contribute to both areas.

Food safety is always critical. The majority of food-related illnesses are caused by bacteria. According to the Food Standards Agency, campylobacter causes the most cases – over 250,000 a year – of food poisoning in the UK with E.coli and salmonella also affecting large numbers. Each of these causes unnecessary suffering as well as disruption and loss of reputation to any business whose staff or customers become ill. Listeria monocytogenes causes the most food poisoning deaths although the numbers are very small. Around 40% of all food poisoning outbreaks are the result of poor hand hygiene and cross contamination.

The average person’s hands can carry more than 3000 different types of bacteria and about 100,000 can live on each square centimetre of skin. Many of these are completely harmless but just a few of the wrong type can quickly lead to illness. One bacterium can multiply to over four million in eight hours, so it is clear that keeping hands clean is critical to preventing the spread of infections.

We have known this for a long time and all learn as children to wash our hands before eating and after going to the toilet. Despite this it seems many people continue to ignore this most basic act of personal hygiene.

Hand hygiene products for food service need to be effective yet gentle because they will be used frequently during the day. Modern formulations incorporate highly effective biocidal ingredients as well as emollients that help preserve the skin’s natural protective barrier and keep hands soft. They should not include perfumes to avoid tainting food. Leading suppliers offer a choice and are able to recommend the best option for any particular setting.

Another key issue facing food service businesses is to make their operations more sustainable by using less water, energy and cleaning products. There are lots of ways of doing this without compromising the quality of the food or the safety of customers and staff. Replacing conventional cleaning warewashing and laundry products with innovative formulations that are effective at lower temperatures can be a simple first step.

A further option is to replace ready-to-use or traditional bulk products with ultra-concentrates. Used with simple and convenient wall-mounted or portable dosing and dilution control equipment, ultra concentrates support sustainability by enabling safe, simple and consistent high-performance cleaning while minimising wastage, packaging and chemical miles. Products available as ultra-concentrates cover all key kitchen hygiene tasks including hand hygiene.

Recently, cleaning product suppliers have devised novel formulations that utilise environmentally-friendly ingredients to provide further choices to customers who want to demonstrate the highest levels of environmental responsibility. These are typically derived from plant-based renewable resources such as by-products originating from sugar beet, maize and other common foodstuffs. When products like these are available in ultra-concentrate formulations they provide an additional sustainability benefit.

Simplifying Floorcare Decisions in Healthcare

Innovations in flooring – for practical and cosmetic reasons – continue to widen the choice of materials and finishes available. This makes the correct specification and use of floorcare products and equipment more complex because there is more to consider. Mistakes can damage the floor and be difficult and costly to correct. In many cases the solution is to use a scrubber drier or rotary disc machine in conjunction with a particular pad or brush and, usually but not always, cleaning product.

In general, innovative synthetic flooring is now more widely used than wood and other traditional materials. This has led to a move from laborious stripping, polishing and buffing to more efficient machine cleaning and maintaining. Diversey offers pads and brushes for almost every type of flooring and will be able to advise on the right one to use with any machine from its advanced TASKI range in any given application. The right combination will achieve the best possible results, economy and sustainability.

In healthcare, for example, there is a clear trend towards vinyl floors with a thin wear layer that requires no polish and hence has no shine. These floors have a sheen finish and are perceived to present reduced risk of slips, still one of the major causes of accidents and injuries in workplaces, especially to vulnerable patients such as those suffering from dementia. They are also generally easier to maintain because they require no intermittent stripping and sealing.

Floors with wear layers can normally be cleaned using innovative floorcare pads such as Twister by Diversey. This innovative set of colour-coded floor care pads is made from recycled plastics impregnated with billions of microscopic diamonds on the working side. They are ideally used with Diversey’s advanced TASKI swingo scrubber driers or rotary-disc machines and water alone to deliver excellent results while making floor care operations more sustainable. The range includes pads for almost every type of hard floor, manufactured by changing the size and combination of the microscopic diamonds. The pads are less abrasive than corresponding conventional alternatives which helps to protect the floor while giving a smoother and improved appearance. The resulting micro-polished floor is also more resistant to soiling.

Also in healthcare, there is an ongoing use of products containing chlorine as the active ingredient as part of infection prevention efforts. These products can cause long-term degradation of the floor if not used correctly. One way to alleviate such concerns is to use a scrubber drier with effective dilution control and which always applies the correct amount of solution to the floor and then removes it to leave the floor dry and ready to use. These are the key attributes of TASKI scrubber driers equipped with the IntelliDose dilution and IntelliFlow solution control systems.

In commercial settings, Diversey has seen increased use of floors woven from vinyl and other materials that have a textured surface. Conventional rotary pads and discs are less effective on these floors because they cannot reach into the recesses on the undulating surface. In these cases, a scrubber drier equipped with a cylindrical brush will be more effective.

The variety of floor type and the choice of equipment and products can present a bewildering set of choices. Nevertheless, by taking advice from suppliers such as Diversey, cleaning teams can introduce cleaning processes that improve results while being effective, productive and sustainable.

Floorcare is one of application areas we’re highlighting at the forthcoming HCA Forum (11-12 April, Celtic Manor, South Wales).

Hand Hygiene for Hospital Caterers

Around 40% of all food poisoning outbreaks are the result of poor hand hygiene and cross contamination. Most food-related illnesses are caused by bacteria: according to the Food Standards Agency, campylobacter causes over 250,000 cases of food poisoning in the UK each year. E.coli and salmonella also affect large numbers.

Hospital patients and care home residents can be particularly vulnerable to any outbreak of food-borne illness that would be little more than inconvenient to otherwise fit and healthy people. Hospital and care home catering staff therefore need to be extra vigilant.

Food can be contaminated from direct touching or placing items on infected surfaces. Kitchen staff can become infected by personal contact or touching a contaminated surface. Poor hand hygiene can also cause issues with equipment such as ice machines, beverage equipment and water dispensers if staff operate them with dirty hands.

This is why personal hygiene and surface sanitising are both so important in any health-related food service operation. Mistakes that lead to illness can cause suffering to patients, residents and staff while also disrupting the operation and diminishing its reputation. In the worst cases, this can lead to poor statutory food hygiene ratings and even temporary or permanent closure.

Food service staff should wash their hands between tasks, including when switching between handling raw and cooked items. That can mean a lot of washing during a normal day. Conventional soaps can strip natural oils which protect the skin, leading to an increased risk of damage through conditions such as dermatitis. Hand hygiene products therefore need to be effective yet gentle. Modern formulations incorporate highly effective biocidal ingredients as well as emollients to preserve the skin’s natural protective barrier and keep hands soft. They should not include perfumes to avoid tainting food.

To meet these challenges, Diversey offers the revolutionary IntelliCare hand hygiene system. IntelliCare dispenses globally-trusted hand care formulations in our Soft Care and SURE ranges. These comprise a complete set of soaps, sanitisers and creams meeting a wide range of international infection prevention standards. SURE products demonstrate the highest levels of environmental responsibility with 100% plant-based, 100% biodegradable formulations.

With hand washing the most effective way to prevent the spread of infections, the dispenser helps maintain uninterrupted availability of soaps and foams for maximum hand hygiene compliance. Typically configured for touchless operation, it seamlessly shifts to manual mode if battery power is lost.

Products are supplied in 1.3 litre pouches containing more doses than conventional systems to extend replacement intervals. Standardised pouches for all products enable total flexibility to choose the right formulation. The tamper-proof design utilises less plastics per millilitre of product than alternatives. All materials are fully-recyclable.

IntelliCare is one of the products we’re featuring at the forthcoming HCA Forum (11-12 April, Celtic Manor, South Wales).