Microorganisms are all around us in our daily lives. While some bacteria can have positive benefits; in a hospital setting they can cause infection and sometimes death. Unfortunately, pathogenic bacteria are capable of lingering on surfaces for months or even years! This can be very dangerous especially when inhabiting high-touch surfaces in hospitals that are difficult to disinfect regularly or effectively. Shared objects that come in contact with one patient after another are at risk of fostering cross-contamination.
Tags: Managing Disinfection, Pathogenic Bacteria, Healthcare Technology, Infection Prevention, Methods of Decontamination, Healthcare Acquired Infection, Healthcare, Mobile Devices in OR, HAI, Tablets, Health IT, Cell Phones in OR, Tablet Disinfection, Patient Health
The usage of mobile devices has risen significantly in recent years due to all the advantages in mobile technology happening everyday. However, because the technology comes in close contact with healthcare workers and patients, it leaves patients susceptible to infection. Below, we bring you 4 articles that prove mobile disinfection needs to be implemented into daily routines in healthcare facilities.
In an effort to continually reduce disease transmission in hospital settings, one doctor is asking if we should stop handshakes altogether.
Summary: Washable Keyboard Helps Hospitals Tackle Cross Contamination
Prevalence of HAIs
Clostridium difficile (c. diff) and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are two of the more common healthcare acquired infections (HAIs) that create problems in hospitals nationwide.
According to CDC reports, over 700,000 hospital patients acquired an infection as a result of their hospital stay in 2011, resulting in roughly 75,000 deaths. The majority of these Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) occurred in intensive care units.
What Does It Mean for Your Hospital?
Starting October 1, 2014, hospitals with the highest rates of nosocomial infections will suffer substantial financial penalties – will your institution be one of them?
A recent data report, Cross-Contamination Prevention: Addressing Keyboards as Fomites, released by Infection Control Today, discusses the topic of cross-contamination prevention focusing specifically on keyboards as fomites. A fomite is an object that has the potential to become contaminated with any type of germ or bacteria. Fomites are key players in the transfer of pathogens from person-to-person. These objects are responsible for the billions of dollars spent treating hospital acquired infections and paying for sick leaves taken by health care workers. In order to lessen these numbers we must understand the source of the infections.
The Frequency of Touch in Hospitals
High-touch surfaces. This is a phrase that gets thrown around quite a lot in the world of healthcare, but we are rarely told how many touches are considered “high-touch.” The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America offered this answer to the question in a report titled “A Quantitative Approach to Defining ‘High-Touch’ Surfaces in Hospitals.”
It is well established in infection prevention practice that surfaces in hospital rooms are continually contaminated by infectious pathogens. The sources of these dangerous pathogens range from people who enter the room with contaminated hands and compromised clothing, from contaminated instruments and items that are brought in and out of the room like personal and enterprise issued mobile devices, and from the patient themselves. In addition, the air entering the room is not sterile and deposits pathogen containing fomites which settle onto all the surfaces adding to the degree of bio burden compromise.
It is also well established that the accumulated pathogens residing on high touch surfaces are then transferred onto bare or gloved hands and clothing of nurses, doctors, visitors, and environmental workers when touched, which in turn puts patients at great risk since they or their immediate surroundings are consequently contaminated by touch transfer mechanisms. Hence, even perfect attention to between patient visit hand sanitation by healthcare workers (HCWs); 100% compliance, and effective sanitization of hands to – 4 log10 inactivation, (99.99%); which is not currently achieved), will leave the hands contaminated while performing tasks within the room. This situation is judged to be unavoidable.
Accordingly, the ultimate solution espoused by WHO is hand sanitation immediately prior to patient contact; the Five Special Moments (‘FSM’), so that patients or the patient’s surroundings are not contaminated as a result of attention or care from a healthcare worker, attendant, or a visitor. Currently, the use of alcohol rubs just prior to contact is recommended by WHO for hand sanitation despite the fact that during a shift 100 or more alcohol rub hand sanitations, each taking at least 30 seconds, almost one hour dedicated to hand sanitation per shift, would be required. Moreover alcohol rub is not free of hand irritation and is totally ineffective on spores such as C. diff and some viruses. Hand washing is usually less effective, takes more time and is generally more irritating. There is no currently available product that can meet the WHO FSM requirement so it remains an objective, but not yet a reality.
As a response to problematic hand hygiene, a number of companies are now offering UV-C-based, room disinfection devices which have as their purpose to supplement terminal cleaning. They nominally sanitize room surfaces in as little as 15 minutes, and by lowering bio burden levels, help to minimize additional contamination of hands and clothing when the surfaces are contacted later. This sanitation process must be carried out in a vacant room due to the dangers UV-C poses to unprotected eyes, so it is generally performed only after patient discharge and cleaning by environmental workers.
To understand the efficacy of this approach, it is important to recognize that to inactivate pathogens, especially hardy C. difficile endospores, to the nominal – 4 log10 or 99.99% sanitation level in 15 minutes, typically requires a direct, continuous, line of sight UV-C dose for the entire 900 second period on the entire surface area. Keeping in mind that UV-C intensity of a source falls off with dramatically with distance from that source. This approach could be effective in sanitizing most of a room’s surfaces from normal incidence rays falling directly on these surfaces. This would be the case for walls, which are actually not touch surfaces in most cases.