Environmental Services (EVS) teams play a critical role in a hospital’s infection control efforts. Supported by hospital administrators and Infection Prevention (IP) leaders, EVS groups are responsible for deploying infection prevention measures that serve as a first line of defense against the spread of disease. To decrease patients’ risk of exposure to illnesses and infections, EVS teams need to ensure that their infection control methods are efficient, and effective at killing harmful pathogens that cause HAIs.
Manual Cleaning Alone Doesn’t Always Get the Job Done
Manual cleaning techniques that use chemicals to wipe down surfaces are used universally. Even with the best manual cleaning plan in place, this type of disinfection isn’t fully effective for three reasons: human error, non-effective cleaning agents, and high resistance of antibiotic resistant organisms. A study published in American Journal of Infection Control showed that the risk of multidrug-resistant organisms being passed from patient to patient when they occupied the room after each other was 1.5 to 3.5 percent more likely.
For manual cleaning, it’s also critical to maintain a clear cleaning schedule that is visible to all staff and able to be monitored by your IP management team. Your entire IP team should understand roles and responsibilities when it comes to disinfection. The thoroughness of cleaning can never be 100% consistent given human error; humans aren’t perfect, so hospital rooms just won’t be cleaned effectively every time. Beyond that, the cleaning agents used are not able to kill certain resistant organisms. There is an obvious need for more consistent and effective tools to reduce harmful pathogens.
Why You Should Bundle Manual Cleaning & UVC
No one disinfection method should be used alone. Instead, EVS teams must use a multi-pronged, “bundled” approach to be more effective in reducing pathogens. Combining manual cleaning with UVC technology as a bundled approach is one of the most effective ways to reduce HAIs. UVC technology uses UV light to penetrate the cell walls of spores, bacteria and viruses and render them unable to replicate. Dangerous pathogens can’t reproduce and spread after being treated with UVC energy.
The greater measures a hospital can take to disinfect targeted areas, the least likely harmful pathogens will spread. Rochester General Hospital bundled UVC with other infection prevention methods and saw a 56 percent reduction in C. difficile rates from 2011 to 2015.
Choosing the Right UVC System
Select a UVC partner that will evaluate your hospital to recommend the solutions that provide measurable efficacy. UVC disinfection should be a key component of your IP plan which means your UVC provider should be your partner in ensuring efficacy. Instead of relying on staff to evaluate efficacy before and after cleaning, your UVC partner should offer actual proof of compliance back to your IP team.
While delivering the right UVC dosage to help ensure a room is clean is an obvious necessity, you should also take ease of use into consideration when incorporating UVC into your IP planning. Being able to easily move your UVC device to help ensure that targeted areas receive the necessary direct light in the fastest treatment time helps address quick room turnaround time needed in today’s busy hospital settings.
UVC devices should have the ability to let the operator know which areas in a treatment space are receiving direct UVC light to high-touch surface areas to effectively kill pathogens. The best UVC solution measures actual UVC dosage delivered using multiple sensors throughout the room vs. estimated time-based systems that only rely on length of exposure. This is a critical difference when trying to prevent the spread of harmful pathogens.
Contact us to learn more about bundling manual cleaning methods with UVC disinfection.