Every year, healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) plague two million patients and cost organizations upwards of $3 billion. But it’s not only patients who spread infections—an estimated 20 to 40 percent of HAIs are passed by a healthcare worker after they touch another patient or a contaminated surface. These numbers can be significantly reduced with a comprehensive and bundled approach to infection prevention that is deployed throughout an entire hospital or healthcare organization—from patient rooms, ICUs, and ORs to ERs and all public areas. Among these solutions include a more holistic and inclusive philosophy with buy in from all departments, better communication, as well as monitoring usage and utilization. This whitepaper discusses how IP and all departments can utilize a multi-faceted and holistic approach to infection control throughout an entire organization.
Controlling the Spread of Disease
A hospital worker can see up to 15 inpatients in a day, according to a study published in a JAMA Internal Medicine report. The daily flow of patients increases the risk of disease spreading, as well as the hospital’s environment, the air in the building, and the employees who work there. These are all potential carriers of contamination that can be found throughout an entire hospital or healthcare facility. What’s more, the aging U.S. population is resulting in significant growth in the demand for surgical services, opening patients up to more infections at incision sites. There are also a number of diagnostic instruments and other medical devices used in the treatment of disease, making it more critical than ever for hospitals to ensure that infectious diseases do not spread from surface to surface, room to room, floor to floor, and between departments. While manual cleaning has become standard, it shouldn’t be seen as anything more than the minimum. Manual cleaning or manual disinfection of surfaces can reduce, but often does not eliminate, important pathogens such as C. diffcile and MRSA. Of 1,917 patient rooms cleaned using standard processes and detergent, nearly 25 percent still contained strains of MRSA, according to a study in BMJ Journals. This finding suggests hospitals cannot rely on manual cleaning alone to fully eradicate pathogens and deter HAIs. However, a bundled approach with UVC solutions can.
The American Journal of Infection Control notes that combining traditional manual cleaning with UVC technology as a bundled approach is one of the most effective ways to significantly decrease HAIs.
Ultraviolet light kills dangerous microorganisms that cause HAIs when they are exposed for a specific length of time and intensity. It’s one of the reasons why UVC is the leading infection control technology today. A recent AJIC study reports that Rochester General Hospital saw a 56% reduction in their New York State risk adjusted rates between 2011-2015 and a 46% reduction between 2012 and 2015 when all available portable equipment was put in rooms for UVC disinfection, and unit common areas were terminally cleaned.
A Bundled Approach
UVC disinfection is the most important tool for any facility to use in its infection control protocols; however, bundling with other solutions like hand hygiene, realtime location systems, strong communication, and staff vaccinations will help fight the spread of infection across all departments.
REAL-TIME TRACKING OF HAND HYGIENE
Real-Time Location Systems allow healthcare organizations to track hand-hygiene compliance and noncompliance events without error, increasing infection control in all areas throughout the hospital with location monitoring. With RTLS, staff is encouraged to engage in hand hygiene, decreasing the spread of HAIs that are commonly passed on from staff to staff or staff to patient. Practice hand hygiene before coming in contact with your UVC system.
Breakdown of communication in the surgical preparation, planning and postoperative care management among care providers leads to infections that could otherwise be avoided. Organizations should avoid situations where certain processes are overlooked by a department that assumes another department has already completed it.
The CDC recognizes that staff come in contact with patients with different types of diseases and may contract infections. As a result, organizations must make sure that recommended vaccinations are being administered to their staff as recommended.
A hospital’s infection prevention plan can only reach maximum effectiveness when all departments are on board with the infection prevention program. Every patient encounter throughout the care continuum presents all healthcare workers with an infection prevention opportunity, and an organization’s culture may need to shift from thinking that only infection preventionists are accountable for infection prevention. All caregivers are accountable, and to encourage infection prevention protocols, healthcare professionals should show appreciation and understanding for all the people who help keep infections at bay.
All hospital rooms have equipment, and all hospital rooms have people, making it more than likely that infections are spread through the environment. Utilizing IP techniques in all hospital rooms ensures maximum protection from the spread of harmful infections. Deploy your UVC system and other IP solutions in the OR, ER, all patient rooms, public spaces and across all departments. For instance, proper UVC dosing can reach all points of interest in any hospital room, like in dark shadowed areas and under tables. And viewing data on your system’s tablet lets you to see which rooms have been treated, by whom, and how often in each room your UVC system is deployed.
Achieve multi-room control with a combination of different IP techniques throughout different rooms and by following the CDC’s general guidelines for preventing all types of HAIs:
• Comply with hand hygiene recommendations
• Maintain a sterile environment around open incisions
• Disinfect equipment thoroughly
• Educate patient, family and healthcare workers about infection control procedures
Evaluating the Right UVC Solution
Combining traditional manual cleaning with UVC technology as a bundled approach is one of the most effective ways to reduce HAIs. Advanced UVC systems can mitigate infection risk through innovations including measuring actual UVC dosage received at targeted areas using multiple sensors throughout the room vs. just using time-based UVC exposure. The most advanced UVC system should also automatically capture and report disinfection data in real time, ensuring your IP team has the proof of compliance data it needs for efficacy reporting. A system that can be paused and repositioned during the same job will help maximize direct UVC light, increase efficacy and significantly reduce treatment time in larger environments like ORs, ERs and public spaces.
The RD UVC System is the only UVC system that measures, records and reports the UVC lethal dosage delivered to every room. Unlike other systems with significant drawbacks, the RD UVC System uses proven, patented remote sensors “challenge devices” that measure and ensure delivery of published UVC doses at all points of disinfection every time. To prevent the spread of infection, UVC solutions must be deployed throughout an entire hospital or healthcare organization, from patient rooms, ICUs, ORs to public areas and ERs. With a comprehensive, strategic, holistic plan in place, facilities can see HAI rates decrease.