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.