5 Steps to Prevent Surface-Related Infections
A real-world patient care room – full of critical furnishings, equipment, and tools – comprises hundreds of different surface materials. Unfortunately, the reality is that most of these surfaces cannot be effectively disinfected and harbor microbes that cause deadly infections.
In her webinar, Deadly Microbes Lurking on Healthcare Surfaces, HSI founder and executive director Linda Lybert explained why it is challenging to eliminate surface-related pathogens from the healthcare environment without making significant changes. How do we stop this? Through collaboration, testing, and standards. We need to bring together all the different groups working on surfaces to improve the situation: healthcare professionals, raw materials manufacturers, product manufacturers, design engineers, researchers, and testing laboratories.
Drive change! Here are five steps healthcare professionals can take right now to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs):
1. Create a single point of contact
Designate a single point of contact within your healthcare organization to facilitate collaboration between manufacturers and healthcare professionals and to communicate important matters to all parties. This contact is typically a value analysis professional.
2. Create purchasing guidelines to check surface safety
Create surface safety guidelines for product reviews before purchase and usage checklists for healthcare-selected teams within the healthcare setting to provide product value analysis professionals with the information they need to make informed purchases.
3. Question all surfaces in your facility
Ask hard questions at the design, review, and evaluation stage of any equipment, material, device, or surface used in the facility. Ask questions about cleaning and disinfection compatibility.
4. Ask for validation from manufacturers
Ask your manufacturer for validation of testing to ensure products can be effectively cleaned and disinfected without damage using EPA registered hospital-grade disinfectants. Verify that the test methods used mimicked real-world scenarios and are not just laboratory tests that provide only minimal information.
5. Educate healthcare professionals on surface disinfection
Ask your medical device suppliers to provide maintenance training and cleaning and disinfection review for healthcare professionals.
Surface Validation Checklist
Use the following checklist to determine if a surface material or product can be safely cleaned and disinfected in your healthcare facility.
- Are you able to use the disinfectants that are recommended in your infection prevention guidelines for cleaning and disinfection in your facility?
Thank you for your interest in reducing preventable infections!
Surface contamination is a foundational public health issue that must be addressed to reduce the transmission of HAIs.
For more on this issue:
- Watch and share our webinar: Deadly Microbes Lurking on Healthcare Surfaces
- Learn more about surface disinfection compatibility
- Read our case study: Surface disinfection incompatibility with medical devices creates potential patient risks
Other ways to get involved:
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