Why Cleaning Surfaces is Not Enough to Kill HAI

Why Cleaning Surfaces is Not Enough to Kill HAI

The Dangers of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI)

Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) are infections that patients can catch while receiving healthcare for another condition. They can be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other pathogens. HAI can happen in any healthcare facility, including hospitals, surgical centers, and long-term care facilities.

It’s estimated that every year, hundreds of millions of patients around the world catch HAI. HAI can result in high costs for patients and their families, additional costs for health systems, prolonged hospital stays, long-term disability, increased resistance of microorganisms to antimicrobials, and even death. Infection Prevention Control (IPC) teams and Environmental Services (EVS) teams need to ensure that their infection control methods are effective at killing harmful pathogens that cause HAIs.

Combining Manual Cleaning with UVC Disinfection

No 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 is one of the most effective ways to reduce HAI. Research published in the American Journal of Infection Control shows that as many as 50% of surfaces remain contaminated with pathogens, including MRSA, despite regular manual cleaning efforts.

What is UVC Disinfection?

According to the FDA, UVC radiation is a known disinfectant for air and nonporous surfaces. Ultraviolet-C (UVC) disinfection deploys UV light to penetrate the cell walls of spores, bacteria and viruses and renders these harmful pathogens unable to reproduce and spread. UVC radiation has effectively been used for decades to reduce the spread of bacteria and harmful pathogens. When bundled with manual cleaning and disinfection protocols, the technology significantly reduces patient exposure to HAIs.

How to Choose the Best UVC Disinfection System

Hospitals need to choose technologies that can be measured and can provide the data needed to show proof of UVC dosing and compliance. UVC devices should be easily accessible to high-touch surface areas. Those surfaces need the most direct light to effectively and efficiently reduce harmful, HAI-causing pathogens. UVC radiation can only inactivate a virus if the virus is directly exposed to the radiation. If a surface is under a shadow, it won’t be disinfected.

Some UVC systems don’t administer the proper dose and miss areas that may contain dangerous pathogens. The right UVC system should measure the delivered UVC dose and have a “pause and reposition” feature that helps operators ensure targeted areas of the room have received optimal dosage to effectively attack harmful pathogens. This technology helps staff quickly disinfect crucial areas and return rooms to service.

Additionally, tracking treatment data, monitoring effectiveness, and sharing with necessary stakeholders are important functions of UVC light technology. Using patented remote UVC sensors and pausing and repositioning the UVC system, helps address variables such as room shape and other obstacles that might prevent areas from being adequately disinfected.

Contact us to learn more about UVC disinfection.