If someone is admitted to hospital with an infectious disease there is always a risk that disease can spread.
MRSA and viruses like it can, if left unchecked, infect entire hospital wards at an alarming rate leaving those recovering from other conditions or operations weak and vulnerable.
Because hospitals can’t ever be closed environments, controlling the flow of potentially harmful microbes through the corridors and wards is almost impossible to achieve.
For one thing you are trying to control something that can’t be seen by the naked eye and can work itself into the fibres of clothing.
With super bugs on the rise and diseases hopping continents there are growing calls for stricter infection control policies.
Since 2009 there has been a marked reduction in healthcare acquired infections (HCAIs) in the UK directly attributed to tighter and rigorously imposed infection control policies around hand washing and spatial and temporal control.
However the migration of microbes around the hospital remains an impossible challenge to fully overcome so solutions designed to minimise risk are needed to maintain the downwards trend of HCAIs.
One of the biggest challenges facing medical professionals is the increasing resistance microbes have to cleaning solutions. This means having to develop stronger solutions which are more harmful to handle and – inevitably – will breed even more resistance and therefore hazardous microbes.
Although chemical cleaning is still the primary means of disinfection, introducing new technologies to eliminate microbes from environments represents the best long term solution.
Ultraviolet radiation has been used for years in water coolers to prevent harmful microbes from growing in the water lines between uses. Increasingly ultraviolet germicidal irradiation is being used to disinfect hospitals.
The UV rays disrupts the microbes by destroying nucleic acids and breaks down their DNA, leaving them unable to perform cellular function. This either kills or deactivates the microbe eliminating the risk of infection.
UV Flash Windows can also disinfect uniforms and medical equipment like stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs.
A microbe requires an organic component to survive either by feeding on it or inhabiting it. This organic material allows the microbe to replicate either by infecting the host or inhabiting a greater area, increasing the chances of it infecting a host.
Microbes are highly resilient so can survive on inorganic materials but without that organic element they can’t spread.
Anti-microbial coatings like those found on our pulp macerators are proven to provide long term protection against microbial migration.
Silver has been known for its protective properties for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, it is only recently that the material is being used in the fight against infection.
The lids on our machinery have a silver ion coating which effectively prevents the spread of microbes.
We all keep our distance when someone is unwell but putting in spatial protections makes complete sense. Limiting contact with patients and surfaces not only limits risk to the individual but prevents microbial migration from one surface to another or – more critically – one part of the hospital to another.
Hands free technology on doors, pulp macerators and other infection control equipment goes a long way to reducing the spread of microbes purely because no contact is made.
Backed up with hand hygiene protocols as part of a wider infection control procedure and microbial migration should be kept to a minimum.
Ultimately microbial migration is inevitable but steps can be taken to reduce the impact of that migration.
Effective cleaning methods, infection control procedures and a sluice/dirty utility room solution that can contain and dispose of any harmful materials is vital.
DDC Dolphin is a leading provider of bedpan washers, pulp macerators and sluice/dirty utility room solutions to the hospital and care sectors.