President of the Diversey Care Division of Sealed Air Dr Ilham Kadri has recently shared her view on the challenges of preventing hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) on the European Cleaning Journal website.
Below is Dr Ilham Kadri’s article as published on European Cleaning Journal:
In healthcare environments such as hospitals, patients are placed at an acute risk of infection. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the US, 700,000 hospital patients suffer from at least one HAI and 75,000 die as a result.
HAI’s can be extremely damaging – being proactive rather than reactive in reducing the prevalence of these infections is crucial. Establishments should create a facility hygiene plan – something which helps organisations address critical elements that can contribute to environmental hygiene issues – as poor hygiene can quickly lead to the contraction of an infection.
Something has to be done to help reduce the occurrence of HAI’s, and the cleaning industry is working to develop a variety of innovative solutions.
- Invest in effective disinfectants
Infection prevention professionals must invest in disinfectants which contain Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide technology (AHP), a specialist blend of ingredients which increase cleaning performance. The prevention of HAI’s is a complex process, and the effectiveness of the disinfectant can depend on various factors, such as the antimicrobial activity of the disinfectant, the way in which it is applied, total contact time and the disinfectant’s concentration.
- Robotics lead the way for healthcare environments
The complexity and intricacy of technology in the 21st century continues to astound. The growth of innovative technology has been reflected in the modern healthcare environment too. Many hospitals are now choosing to invest in robotics to reduce infection rates and maintain consistent levels of hygiene compliance.
Hands-free, robotic cleaning machines should be integral to a hospital’s daily operation. These automatic robotic systems can help healthcare environments tackle HAI’s from the front-line, without incurring additional labour costs.
For hospitals, it is also important to maintain a superb cleanliness perception – so if the floors are gleaming thanks to robotic cleaning machines, then the assumptions are that the rest of the hospital is clean too. This consequently motivates employees, patients and visitors to ensure that their hygiene matches that of the establishment.
- Monitoring is key
In healthcare environments, it is essential that people and their operations are tracked using time and task management software. These systems consequently drive productivity, efficiency and quality management of cleaning products and their performance. This software can also determine where changes are necessary, such as alterations to specific cleaning routes in hospitals. This software helps keep standards high, whilst keeping costs for cash-strapped hospitals low.
However, no matter how many products or solutions have been chosen to improve hygiene compliance and reduce HAI’s, this is all futile if employees aren’t given regular, effective training on the products.
For hospitals, there should no longer be an excuse for the incredibly high HAI rate. With the extensive range of new technologies and systems available, there are a multitude of ways to combat the problem. Challenging complacency and investing in effective cleaning operations and practices will ensure that HAI’s can be minimized if not completely eradicated.