In the 50 page roadmap recently published by the Government outlining the plan to Covid-19 recovery, it is highlighted that ‘Clothes should be washed regularly to prevent the spread of Coronavirus’. So, with the hospitality market set to reopen in a matter of months now is the time to get your business ready for a safe reopening. According to the report, scientists have seen evidence that the virus can stay on fabrics for a number of days.
We have seen a big push on santising surfaces. However, we know that within the hospitality sector fabric is one of the biggest customer touch-points. This means there are more factors to consider when washing fabrics.
Using an antibacterial washing powder such as Persil Hygiene to wash clothes, bedding and towels is the surest way of stopping the spread of viruses. This also creates a safer environment for your business and your customers.
Pro Formula Persil Hygiene has been extensively tested and is effective against harmful bacteria strains including MRSA. Persil Hygiene disinfects at temperatures as low as 40 degrees whilst maintaining excellent performance against a wide range of stains and types of soil.
Pro Formula Persil Hygiene kills 99.999% of bacteria and viruses. The industry standard for bacteria kill is 99.999%. Did you know that retail variants are only 99.9%?
It is even so more important now that businesses adapt a professional approach to cleaning products and methods.
Professional Results from Trusted Brands
Persil Hygiene is part of Diversey’s ProFormula range. This set of easy-to-use cleaning products helps smaller and independent businesses to complete routine and common problem-solving tasks quicklywith excellent results. Pro Formula products combine professional formulations from Diversey with trusted brands from Unilever including Cif, Persil, Comfort and Domestos.
UV-C penetrates and destroys the DNA in the cells of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and spores which stops them multiplying and causing infections. This means Moonbeam3 Disinfection Technology offers facilities a completely hands, chemical and fume-free way to complement existing processes with safer high-performance disinfection. The device is ideal for surfaces accidentally missed during regular cleaning and for frequently-touched, hard-to-clean surfaces and intricate equipment. It can be used in patient rooms, operating theatres and bathrooms and on patient care equipment, keyboards, monitors, and workstations.
Moonbeam3 Disinfection Technology is quick and easy to use with push-button activation and short operating cycles. Its three articulating, light-producing arms can be positioned independently to target light efficiently and closely onto surfaces to be disinfected. This unique design allows it to be used in more places while its high-efficiency dosing increases speed which reduces labour and operating costs. Periodic maintenance is limited to bulb replacement, with no tools required.
Diversey returns to the Cleaning Show (Stand C37) for the first time in over a decade to discuss with customers how its innovations and full solutions capabilities offer cleaning teams new ways of working that are more effective, affordable and sustainable.
Internet of Clean: our innovative platform offers new ways to support interactive remote monitoring of laundry equipment, floor care machines and dishwashers. It also enables expert advice to be provided direct to end users on a range of devices to enhance their understanding and productivity, with new improved analytics. Remote guidance feature offers an innovative way to manage breakdowns and issues quickly, remotely and with minimum fuss.
TASKI Machine Innovations: update to Diversey’s next-generation, hands-free TASKI SWINGOBOT 2000 robotic scrubber drier, which works on its own to enhance floor cleaning productivity and frees operatives to focus on additional value-added and profit-generating tasks. The company’s latest TASKI aero tub and backpack vacuum cleaners are among the quietest and most energy-efficient commercial machines on the market.
TASKI Tool Innovations: new enclosed trolley and tools including the innovative diamond-impregnated Twister by Diversey pads.
As part of our commitment to the event we are supporting the Cleaning Show’s VIP lounge.
We also plan to host our own special event during the exhibition to promote opportunities for networking between customers, industry experts and thought leaders.
The fight against healthcare associated infections (HAIs) covers many areas but foremost among these are hand hygiene and surface disinfection. Studies suggest around 80 per cent of all infectious diseases are spread by touch[i]. This can be through personal contact or touching a contaminated surface. It follows that breaking this chain should help reduce the number of infections.
Healthcare cleaning teams now have access to a wider range of products to help them eliminate the pathogens that cause HAIs. These include innovative disinfectant formulations that are more effective, quicker and safer than traditional disinfectants complemented by advanced adjunct technologies such as UV-C light that can give the added level of protection against pathogens of concern.
The link between hand hygiene and the spread of infections was established long ago. Yet there is still much to be done to change the behaviour of individual healthcare workers to optimise compliance with hand hygiene at the recommended points to improve patient safety. 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 is another critical aspect of infection prevention. It is vital to choose the right disinfectants to improve environmental hygiene in healthcare settings. However, not all disinfectants are created equally.
Healthcare cleaning professionals have traditionally chosen disinfectants with chlorine as the active ingredient (usually as bleaches) for cleaning hard surfaces.
While widely used, the drawbacks of these formulations are well noted in terms of effectiveness as well as safety and there seems to be a gradual shift towards safer, quicker and more effective disinfectants. Alternative formulations with Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) as the active ingredient offer numerous advantages with few limitations.[ii]
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 with long contact times may require reapplication to ensure pathogens are killed. This can be impractical, time-consuming and inefficient.
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.
Disinfectants with AHP can be supplied in ready-to-use and ultra-concentrate formats. Depending on the specific formulation, these 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. Chlorine-based products can take up to 30 minutes. Aside from any productivity issues, they are only effective while wet which means efficacy will be lost if they dry within the specified contact time. Under normal conditions the much shorter contact times of AHP products are usually passed before they have dried.
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 easier a product is to use, the greater the chance of cleaning compliance. Products should be accompanied by training aids to support members of diverse cleaning teams. Despite proper training, there are still cleaning and disinfection challenges that may arise. It is therefore important to measure performance to determine if additional training is necessary.
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.
While disinfectants offer healthcare cleaning professionals effective solutions in many situations there are times when additional measures are necessary or desirable. The latest technology to emerge uses powerful UV-C light to disinfect surfaces quickly and effectively[iii]. This represents a new hands-, chemical- and fume-free way to implement safer disinfection. It is particularly useful for so-called adjunct cleaning which is employed to complement or supplement existing processes and provide additional assurance that frequent-touch and hard-to-clean surfaces have been disinfected. Dr Deverick Anderson published a paper in 2017 that found using UV-C alongside traditional disinfectants reduced HAIs by 33%.[iv]
The infection-killing properties of UV-C have been known for some years and there are at least 40 scientific studies measuring either its biocidal effect on micro-organisms or the impact on HAI rates. UV-C kills pathogens by destroying the nucleic acids in their DNA. This disrupts the normal function of the cells which means they die. Any surface directly exposed to a sufficient amount of UV-C will be disinfected. One of the biggest advantages of UV-C disinfection is that large areas can be decontaminated very quickly without any additional intervention. Because UV-C disinfection is physical rather than chemical it means that there is much less chance of pathogens developing any form of resistance.
Despite these advantages, no cost-effective practical UV-C systems were available until recently for routine use in healthcare settings[v]. Now the devices used in hospitals produce powerful UV-C light at the optimum wavelengths to provide fast broad-spectrum disinfection. These devices tend to fall into two categories: for broad area and high-touch surface disinfection and disinfection of smaller, portable devices.
Systems designed for disinfection of broad areas and high-touch surfaces can be effective 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. They are an excellent option for on-demand disinfection of high-touch surfaces 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.
UV-C is at its most powerful when it hits a surface perpendicularly – at right angles – such as directly from overhead or square on to wall. Any deviation from this angle of incidence will diminish the power. In practice this means that at an angle of incidence of 45 degrees, the surface will only receive around 75% of the energy. At angles between 20 and 30 degrees the energy levels are reduced by around 60%.
Like all electromagnetic radiation, the power of UV-C also diminishes rapidly the further away a target surface is from the source because of the inverse square law. This means that the energy reduces fourfold (ie 2×2 or 2 squared) with each doubling of distance. Alternatively, the intensity at 2m from a light source is just 25% of the level at 1m. Using the same calculations shows that the amount of energy reaching a surface just over three metres (10 feet) from the source is one per cent or the original.
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. When the light sources are mounted on a single, central column that is not easily repositioned, less of the UV-C produced falls on target surfaces perpendicularly and from further away. Either way this means the device will be less efficient.
UV-C systems for portable devices are designed to disinfect items such as tablets and smartphones. These are becoming more widely used in healthcare settings but they are often used by different members of the nursing or clinical team throughout the day. This means that they are not only frequent- or high-touch surfaces but they can also present increased opportunities for pathogens to pass from person to person. There is some evidence that people do not wash their hands after using these devices, or indeed clean the device itself.
As with any routine process, the use of these disinfection systems should be simple and quick to encourage their use. Items to be treated are placed in a secure box which contains the UV-C light sources, safely shrouded from the outside world. This means that they are always close to the items being disinfected for maximum effectiveness. Because items being treated are always close to the UV-C source these units provide extremely effective disinfection. Items can usually be disinfected in around 30 seconds.
Independent tests have shown that there can be an up to 5-log reduction in surface pathogens including MRSA, VRE, MDR-Gram negative, Norovirus and C.diff spores. This means that the number of micro-organisms is reduced by 105 times or by a factor of 100,000.
The power of UV-C to damage DNA and cells means that people would be affected too if they were exposed. Devices are supplied with fail-safe features such as remote control that prevent close-up activation and motion sensors that shut the unit down if anyone should approach too closely.
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.
[ii] 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.
Protecting residents in care homes from infections is an all-year-round priority but there are additional challenges during winter when there are usually peaks in serious illnesses such as Influenza and Norovirus. These can be life-threatening to residents, many of whom are likely to be frail and vulnerable. Because of this seasonal link, we’re focusing on care homes in our annual “Are You Ready?” campaign.
Infection prevention relies on rigorous hand hygiene and surface disinfection. This helps to break the chain of infection because most illnesses are caused by personal contact or touching a contaminated surface.
Effective surface disinfection is critical. Well-run homes will have a daily cleaning regime that focuses on the areas used by residents and staff to maintain a clean and hygienic environment. The latest thinking by authorities such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) is that additional attention should be paid to frequent-touch surfaces. In care homes, these might include light switches, door handles, table-tops, bed rails, remote controls and similar devices, telephones and touch-screens. Additional hand-hygiene frequency among staff is also recommended – such as when moving from task to task or resident to resident – to achieve the highest levels of protection.
Many care homes use traditional cleaners and disinfectants containing chlorine or “quats” as their active ingredient. Used correctly these will be effective at removing the common pathogens and microbes that cause illnesses but they can be complicated to use in care homes. Separate products may be required for the cleaning and the disinfection (and to eliminate different types of pathogen) and not all can be used easily on the variety of surfaces likely to be found in the care home.
Products containing chlorine are also suspected of aggravating asthma and other respiratory problems and forming chlorine compounds in the atmosphere. This can create an unpleasant environment for residents at best but for the frail, it can aggravate underlying health conditions and lead to additional suffering.
Given the ongoing requirement for cleaning and disinfection, there are good reasons for using a single combined product for both tasks. This way, disinfection automatically takes place whenever any cleaning task is undertaken. It becomes an ongoing process that is completely embedded within the care home’s daily routine. That can raise standards and compliance rates with a resultant reduction in infections.
In the past, it was difficult to find a single cleaner-disinfectant formulation that simplified processes, saved time and improved productivity without compromising on any infection prevention capability. This changed when Diversey introduced its Oxivir range of 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 including Influenza and Norovirus as well as spores, yeasts, and fungi. This ability to kill many different types of pathogens is known as “broad-spectrum capability”.
Products containing AHP offer an effective alternative to formulations with chlorine compounds as the active ingredient. They do not contain respiratory irritants. The 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, including fabrics and washroom surfaces. Many AHP-based formulations have no safety classification which means they can be used in a wider range of settings, including care homes, with fewer restrictions. Chlorine-based products, on the other hand, usually carry a hazard symbol.
Products in the Oxivir range include:
Oxivir Excel: a fast-acting cleaner-disinfectant that can replace general surface cleaning products for routine tasks and provide affordable ongoing infection protection. It is effective against viruses such as Influenza and Norovirus in just 30 seconds. It is available as a convenient, ready-to-use, spray or in five-litre containers for simple dilution.
Oxivir Excel Wipes: disposable ready-to-use 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.
Oxivir Spill Kit: a ready-to-use kit with everything needed to contain and remove body spillages quickly and easily. Each kit contains a 750ml Oxivir Excel spray, absorbent granules, scoops, bags and all the personal protection equipment (PPE) needed to deal with spillages.
Diversey’s Oxivir range offers care homes the opportunity to replace conventional infection prevention products with safer and more effective alternatives. Our annual “Are You Ready?” campaign aims to provide useful information about how to protect yourself and others from seasonal illnesses such as Norovirus and Influenza.
Growing concerns about the spread of antimicrobial resistance mean that healthcare workers must use every technique and tool at their disposal to protect lives and prevent infections. Despite many pharmaceutical and technical advances, good hand hygiene and surface disinfection remain central to all infection prevention programmes. This is because they are the simplest and most effective way to break the chain of infection.
The discovery of antibiotics in the first half of the last century gave doctors a powerful weapon against common infections for the first time in human history. Simple, often naturally occurring, compounds had the power to destroy many common infections that until that time had been life-threatening and hard to defeat. They saved and transformed countless lives in the following decades.
However, it soon became clear that many of the pathogens so easily treated with antibiotics were beginning to develop immunity. Even the simplest and smallest lifeforms have a tremendous ability to adapt and change to ensure their survival. It’s an arms race. Pathogens develop resistance and scientists and drug companies try to develop new antibiotics. But it’s a battle that is hard to win. It often seems that the microbes are faster at adapting than we are at developing weapons against them. This may explain, in part, why no new class of antibiotics has been introduced in the past three decades.
Many pathogens that were easily killed by the commonest – and least expensive – antibiotics have developed resistance. This means illnesses and infections that were easy to treat just a few decades ago have become life-threatening once again. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), about 33,000 people in Europe die each year due to infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is almost 2.5 times higher than in 2007. The burden of antibiotic-resistant infections is almost as great as the total risk of influenza, tuberculosis and HIV.
The World Health Organisation says that antimicrobial resistance “is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country…[and is] is a major threat to public health.”
Some sources suggest there will be an additional 10 million deaths worldwide over the next 30 years. This will cost £66 trillion in economic output.
Although antibiotics offered – and still do – new ways of killing dangerous pathogens of concern, many conventional infection prevention techniques are just as important today. Hand hygiene in conjunction with new methods of surface disinfection helps to break the chain of infection. It is simple, effective and generally less expensive than alternative approaches and techniques.
The reasons for this are easy to understand. The majority – perhaps up to 80% or four in five – of infections are spread by hand-to-hand contact or touching a contaminated surface. This is why hand hygiene and surface disinfection form the backbone of all infection prevention regimes. People reduce the chances of infection if they keep their hands and surfaces they touch as clean as possible.
This is not to say that “traditional” techniques have not evolved thanks to better research and understanding. The WHO has promoted its “five moments of hand hygiene” for many years. Local initiatives and global awareness campaigns with this simple message are making a big difference to people all over the world.
Studies have shown that simple handwashing with soap and water is more effective than doing nothing at all. The simple mechanical action of washing removes enough pathogens to reduce the risk of infection although there is no disinfection involved. Other studies have shown that concentrating on the fingertips is also more effective than general hand cleansing. This, incidentally, is part of the thinking behind the TMED approach.
Modern hospitals often require a more rigorous and disciplined approach. Hand hygiene formulations used in healthcare must be effective, of course. But they should also support the frequent use called for in initiatives such as the “five moments”. To do this they need to be pleasant to use without causing any damage to delicate skin. At the same time, advances in dispenser design aim to maximise product availability and reduce (or ideally eliminate) the risk of running out. They do this with a range of features including bigger pack sizes, making visual checks easier, emitting warnings when running low, and even allowing remote checks over the Internet.
The latest thinking in the healthcare sector builds on the “five moments” with the Targeted Moments of Environmental Disinfection (TMED). This builds on the simple “five moments” message but instead focuses on the surfaces that people are most likely to touch. As with the “five moments” it is simple to explain and replicate. Together, the “five moments” and TMED offer the prospect of greatly improved infection prevention outcomes with relatively little additional cost or effort.
Other advances have focused on the type of surface disinfectants used in healthcare settings. There is some evidence that conventional disinfectants containing chlorine as their active ingredient can enable antimicrobial resistance because of the way they work at the biological level. Innovative active ingredients containing Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide kill pathogens in a different way which may mean there is a reduced risk of them becoming resistant.
Products containing AHP are effective against a wider range of pathogens than chlorine-based alternatives. They are simple and easy to use in a wide range of applications. We refer to this as “broad-spectrum” performance. It would need numerous conventional alternatives to achieve the same level of efficacy. This can be complex, time-consuming and expensive.
To be effective, surface disinfection processes must be simple and accessible so that they can be completed whenever needed. They must also be acceptable to healthcare workers and visitors. This means, for example, that disinfectants must 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.
Healthcare organisations, researchers and solutions providers are making tremendous progress in the ongoing fight against healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). One of the latest approaches is to focus on disinfecting surfaces touched most frequently by staff and patients, rather than trying to clean all surfaces all the time. Known as Targeted Moments of Environmental Disinfection (TMED), its aim is to maximise outcomes with better use of time and resources.
The threat from infections caused by antimicrobial resistance is real and present. The most recently available statistics covering England are for 2018/9. There were 83,000 cases of E. coli, Klebsiella spp., P. aeruginosa, MRSA and MSSA bacteraemia, and clostridium difficile (C.diff). These affected 73,000 patients and resulted in more than 12,700 patient deaths. That’s around one in six or 16 per cent of infection-cases.
The Government has outlined a five-year action plan as part of its wider 20-year vision for tackling antimicrobial resistance. A key target is to reduce drug-resistant infections by 10% by 2025. Other targets include reducing antibiotic use in humans by 15% and reducing gram-negative blood-stream-infections. Stakeholders including hospitals, community health facilities and care homes must act and coordinate their contributions to meet these objectives.
We have covered the link between infection rates, surface disinfection and hand hygiene before. TMED builds on the “five moments of hand hygiene” promoted by the WHO and other agencies with great success over many years.
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 remain on frequent touch surfaces and survive for extended periods, sometimes months. Anyone who touches these surfaces can pass the pathogens on to other people. 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.
There is a growing realisation that even with high levels of compliance, the tried and tested methodologies can be improved. It is always important to clean surfaces likely to be touched by patients or staff. But people will probably touch some surfaces more than others during the day. Under these circumstances, the idea of once-a-day disinfection could be inadequate and put patients and staff at increased risk. Studies show that nurses, medical staff, clinical and non-clinical staff and visitors touch each bed rail up to 250 times every day.
With TMED the objective is to adopt a more focused approach. All areas are cleaned and disinfected daily, as before. But extra attention is given to frequent touch and high-risk surfaces. In practice, this means cleaning items such as bed rails, table-tops and light switches 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 means the five most critical moments for disinfection are:
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
Targeted Moments of Environmental Disinfection aims, in effect, to disinfect on demand. This means cleaning hands and disinfecting 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. 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. This means, for example, that disinfectants must 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.
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.
Damage to mattresses and stretchers can be a major problem in health care settings. Studies have shown that the damage rate to stretchers, foam mattresses and air loss mattresses could be as high as 46 per cent. In the UK, the national average is estimated at 27 per cent, meaning more than one in four requires mending. This damage can mean that beds are taken out of use until expensive replacements found or time-consuming repairs completed.
Damaged mattresses and stretchers cannot be cleaned properly and could become a risk to patient safety. It is important to catch damage early and restore the surface to an intact and hygienic state in order to preserve performance characteristics and cleanability.
Mattresses can be damaged in a number of ways. Mechanical damage can arise through scraping against walls or door frames, impact with equipment, sharp objects including needles, and improper storage. Chemical damage can be caused by frequent or prolonged exposure to harsh undiluted disinfectants and by inappropriate cleaning and care. General wear and tear also takes a toll.
Diversey’s CleanPatch is a CE-registered Class 1 medical device for repairing damaged mattresses to an intact and hygienic state. It reduces the risk of cross-contamination and enables rapid, simple and effective mending of damaged mattresses in hospitals and care homes to extend their useful lifetime, minimise the need for expensive replacements and maximise bed availability. The patch can also be used to repair stretchers in ambulances and patient transfer vehicles to help crews, preparation teams and Make Ready professionals keep these important vehicles in service.
CleanPatch fulfils these requirements with its simple but effective design. It is made from latex-free, biocompatible materials and has been clinically tested and validated by independent infection prevention professionals. To use, the backing is simply peeled off and the patch applied in the desired position. It then provides a durable barrier which is impervious to fluids under arduous conditions. Moreover, it is resilient to all types of cleaning product which is important because mattresses and stretchers must be cleaned after each use.
Hand hygiene product availability is essential for any infection prevention programme to work properly. It means that people can clean or disinfect their hands whenever they need to in line with agreed procedures and protocols.
Regular checks of product levels in dispensers followed up by quick and simple refills make it easier to maintain product availability. But in even the best organised and executed programmes it is still possible to miss when a dispenser is running low or – even worse still – has run completely out of product. Diversey’s IntelliCare system helps to minimise this risk because a red light flashes on the front of the unit when product levels are running low.
Although there is no substitute for regular checks, these flashing IntelliCare alerts provide an additional safeguard by giving a clear and unambiguous warning that product will soon become unavailable. That should leave those responsible for the dispensers with enough time to respond and replace a soon-to-be-empty pouch before it prevent people from cleaning or disinfecting their hands.