Diversey Holdings consider the wide range of solutions that can be deployed to prevent infection in healthcare facilities.
Healthcare housekeeping and infection prevention teams have increased the frequency of hand hygiene and surface disinfection since the start of the pandemic. These are both key to breaking the chain of infection but, with cleaning done more often and more diligently, teams do not want their tasks to become a time-consuming burden. How can those responsible for infection prevention optimise their performance and processes?
The main requirement has understandably been for products that are effective against SARS-CoV-2. In the UK, NHS and Government guidelines require disinfectants to contain chlorine as the active ingredient for specific applications, and demand for this type of product has been high. These products are widely used and effective, but there are situations where alternatives can offer advantages.
While official guidelines have limited the opportunity for products containing alternative active ingredients, there are nevertheless many healthcare applications where they are permitted. Indeed, many European countries already rely far less on chlorine within healthcare, with manufacturers typically using Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide as the active ingredient instead. Additionally, many of these products are fully virucidal in as little as 30 seconds and meet a wide range of infection prevention standards, including EN14476 which covers SARS-Cov-2 and other viruses. In addition to being fast-acting, chlorine-free products can generally be used on a wider range of surfaces and with fewer precautions than chlorine-based products. This is why many hospitals have adopted them as cleaner-disinfectants to combine these two critical steps of infection prevention into a single, simpler process.
Many healthcare facilities augmented their surface disinfection capabilities during the pandemic with ready-to-use products. These are convenient, easy to introduce, and readily available. But costs can mount up in the long run and especially when they are used frequently. Facilities with established cleaning procedures are often better served by ultra-concentrated products used in conjunction with dosing or dilution equipment. Cleaning solutions are prepared accurately and consistently on-site by adding water to a reusable spray bottle, a bucket, or floorcare machine. Costs are much lower than using ready-to-use products. However, these systems must be used correctly to achieve maximum benefit and avoid any potential risks associated with the build-up of residues and biofilms.
Alongside the increased use of liquid disinfectants, hospitals have introduced adjunct technologies to complement and enhance existing processes. By way of example, in the United Kingdom several sites have deployed Diversey’s Moonbeam3 Disinfection Technology devices which emit UV-C to destroy viruses and other pathogens that might have been missed inadvertently during normal disinfection. UV-C provides an additional layer of protection that can reduce infections and reassure patients and staff that the facilities are doing everything possible to create a safer environment.
Another technology gaining popularity is cleaning monitoring and audit applications which enable consistent checking that routine and critical tasks have been completed, helping to maximise performance and reduce infection rates, especially on frequent and critical touch points. The data and reports available can often help organisations improve compliance and CQC audit scores.
Hand hygiene is also critical, as ensuring suitable products are always available helps increase the frequency and compliance levels that reduce infection rates. Where possible, ready-to-use hand hygiene products supplied in single-use portable bottles should be replaced with wall or post-mounted professional dispensing systems. These help maintain product availability and reduce cost-in-use by utilising consistent dosing of highly concentrated products to avoid “overdosing” and wastage.
After all, infection prevention is a critical task in healthcare.