Clean Hands, Clean Surfaces, Half the Battle Against Superbugs
Anyone who has to spend time in hospital will have concerns about the regular media reports on the spread of superbugs in critical hygiene areas of our healthcare organisations, both public and private. While there is some justification for those concerns, it is also true that there is significant under-reporting of the considerable efforts expended by those same organisations in preventing infections from reaching their patients in the first place.
Two shutdowns at major UK hospitals this year illustrate perfectly the extent to which healthcare organisations continually battle against some of the nastiest, most persistent bugs know to man. In June, 187 procedures were cancelled at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Northfield, Birmingham because of an infection alert. This was entirely precautionary, in a hospital that has one of the lowest rates of infection in the country. In July, London’s Royal Brompton Hospital closed its intensive care unit for nearly two weeks after a rare but deadly fungus (Candida Auris) contributed to or caused the deaths of three patients.
In the first case, it was necessary to perform a deep clean of the air conditioning system because the problem was isolated to airborne microbes. In the second it is uncertain where the Candida Auris, which is resistant to conventional anti-fungal treatments, originated. This fungus is spread by human contact and can rapidly spread through the blood streams of infected patients, many of whose immune systems are already weakened by their condition.
In 2013 the US Healthcare organization Becker’s Healthcare published an article on the ten best strategies for infection prevention and control. Unsurprisingly hand hygiene was top of their list. Second on the list was ‘environmental hygiene’, cited as one of the most common sources of infection transmission with certain types of bacteria capable of surviving for months on an affected surface. Its premise is that when healthcare providers or patients touch any surface with their skin, bacteria can be transmitted, causing infection.
So wherever the microorganisms come from, it seems that two things are certain: hand hygiene is fundamental to good healthcare hygiene; and that surfaces with low or zero incidence of the existence of harmful bacteria and other micro-organisms, either through good cleaning and maintenance practices or by using products that minimize the opportunity for the organisms to breed.
Independent tests have proven that the silver ion technology in BioClad interrupts the breeding cycle of a whole range of micro-organisms, which means that they are unable to survive on its surface. So rather than being capable of surviving for months on its surface, they are eradicated within a couple of hours of the first installation. Then BioClad continues to perform 24/7 throughout the lifetime of the product. So when healthcare providers or patients touch any BioClad wall or door surface with their skin, it is highly unlikely that there will be any infection to transmit!
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