Welcome to Pedagogy   |   Sign In

Cleaning and Disinfection of the Long Term Care Facility-Part 3

In previous blogs, I addressed two of the three legs of a three-legged stool: People and Process. The stool depicts the challenges of providing a safe, clean and disinfected indoor environment for building occupants: be it a hospital, long-term care facility, school or office building.

In this final installment I want to address some of the new, emerging technologies that I am aware of. There may be many more out there and we could talk a long time about and never exhaust the list. I want to break technology down into these categories:
1. Disinfectants
2. Surface Protectants
3. Room Disinfectant Systems
To begin this technology discussion, I would like to quote Henry Ford, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses’.” So, if you want “faster horses”, you’ll have to look elsewhere. I am going to look at innovations that are becoming more necessary in the battle against the deadly pathogens that threaten people’s lives and health.

1. Disinfectants-are chemical agents that kill/inactivate pathogenic micro-organisms to prevent/reduce infection risk. The Legacy Disinfectants include Hydrogen Peroxide, Quats (quaternary ammonium compounds, i.e., Benzal-konium chloride), Phenolics (Two phenol derivatives commonly found as constituents of hospital disinfectants are ortho-phenylphenol and ortho-benzyl-para-chlorophenol). The problem with Legacy Disinfectants is the lack of a fair balance between microbial activity and product safety.

I have found that the stronger a disinfectant is, the more toxic it becomes. The converse is, the safer the disinfectant, the less effective it becomes. When looking for your next disinfectant, look for one that has rapid and realistic contact times (the time it must remain wet on a surface), is not orally or dermally toxic, will demonstrate a broad antimicrobial effectiveness, ultimately preventing the environmental transmission of a wide variety of microorganisms including potentially resistant strains, will strike a balance between safety and efficacy without compromise, has no pungent odor, cost < $1.50 per in-use gallon, and finally, is compatible with most substrates, metals and materials.

I am aware of a company that has 100% chemical-free sanitation and cleaning products that are great at cleaning and disinfection. “How?”, you might ask. The company uses electrical energy to turn normal, tap water into aqueous ozone in a Housekeeping closet! Aqueous ozone is an effective antimicrobial oxidizer consisting of three oxygen atoms that can be safely applied as a low-level disinfectant (identical to the three Legacy Disinfectants mentioned above). This product can be safely applied as a disinfectant/sanitizer wherever traditional chemical methods are used. The product replaces traditional housekeeping products such as glass cleaner, general purpose cleaner and disinfectants. Aqueous ozone is well understood and easily managed, providing effective sanitation and disinfectant that is odor-free and safe for food production areas, equipment and people.

2. Surface Protectants-are applied to clean and disinfected surfaces to provide residual pathogen kill for long periods of time (in some cases for months). One manufacturer states, “Unlike other antimicrobials, our product’s efficacy remains for a long period of time. Our product specifies reapplication every 90 days and there has been independently tested for 100 standard washes.” Another product is called Sharklet. Inspired by sharks (think Shark Week!), Safe Touch adhesive film incorporates technology that has a bacterial inhibiting micro pattern that mimics the shark’s dermal denticals (skin pattern) that prevent growth of marine pathogens naturally. Safe Touch (Sharklet) products are applied to frequently touched surfaces. The product with this shark-skin pattern is a unique “non-kill” technology that does not use chemicals, biocides, disinfectants or other active kill technology. It is the height, shape and interrelated nature of these features that create an inhospitable surface that bacteria find growth virtually impossible. Sharklet technology can lower microbial growth up to 99% as compared to smooth surfaces without Sharklet.

Then, there’s copper as a pathogen fighter on commonly touched surfaces. According to the EPA, companies that promote copper on specific environmental surfaces can make these claims:
  • This surface continuously reduces bacterial* contamination;
  • This surface provides continuous/ongoing/persistent antimicrobial action even with repeated exposures;
  • This surface continuously kills 90% of bacteria* after repeated exposures during a day;
  • This surface prevents the buildup of disease-causing bacteria*
  • This surface delivers continuous, long-lasting antibacterial* activity.
  • *Includes a limited list of tested organisms
3. Room Disinfectant Systems-Can a “robot” clean a room just as well as a person?  This is a question being asked when it comes to whole room disinfection systems such a UV lights or disinfectant vapor (or fogging) systems. The short answer is, there are NO Cleaning Robots! Whether it involves UV lights or disinfectant fogging, the room has to be pre-cleaned by Housekeeping staff. Neither room disinfectant system (pick one) does complex movements and operations like robots do.

Can a room disinfection system disinfect a room without a human? NO

Can a human disinfect a room without a disinfection system? YES

Is a whole room disinfection system a tool in the fight to reduce HAIs (Healthcare-Associated Infections)? YES, it can be. Like any other tool, the room disinfection system can add value providing its limitations are understood and it is used properly.

All departments need to adopt up-to-date best practices supported by best-in-class products that can get the job done. This includes everyone from the dietary kitchen to the activity room, from nursing to Environmental Services and from all the other departments. Room disinfection systems are but one of the many tools that can be deployed when necessary and under the appropriate circumstances.

In closing, I have endeavored to inform the reader that proper cleaning and disinfection is like a three-legged stool—People, Process and Technology.

It takes all three legs on the stool for it to perform its intended purpose. That purpose is to provide a safe, clean and disinfected environment for residents, staff and family members.

Guest Blog Post by Darrel Hicks:

Pedagogy has partnered with the Green Clean Institute to bring professional development education for frontline staff that promotes proactive best practices within environmental health services operations.

Environmental Services Technician Certification program is an 12 month education program that once successfully completed offers your staff a certification.
Modules covered within the educational program are:
  • 600 - CITS Basic Cleaning 101
  • 601 - EVS Technician (Part 1)
  • 602 - EVS Technician (Part 2)
  • 603 - Patient/Resident Safety and Satisfaction
  • 604 - Cleaning and Disinfecting
  • 605 - Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
  • 606 - Bloodborne Pathogens (OSHA)
  • 607 - Infection Prevention
  • 608 - Health Impacts of Cleaning
  • 609 - Cleaning Patient/Resident Rooms
  • 610 - Chemicals & Disinfection Knowledge
  • 611 - Clean, Green and Healthy
  • 612 - Surface Cleaning in Healthcare Settings
To see the education on environmental services cleaning offered by Pedagogy and the Green Clean Institute, click here.
Posted: 12/4/2015 3:53:24 PM
Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
Leave comment

 Security code
Copyright © 2020 Pedagogy, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Kentico