In this day of modern healthcare, maintaining a safe, clean environment is becoming increasingly challenging. Recent outbreaks of highly contagious diseases have shifted attention from a reactive approach, to one of proactively stopping the spread of infection, specifically hospital acquired infections (HAIs). Healthcare facilities across the globe are under mounting pressure to meet increasing demands for patient safety.
Infection prevention programs vary by hospital, equipment and the type of outbreak. Cleaning chemicals also impact the choices that hospitals make about their proactive and reactive approaches to infection prevention. Hospitals are exploring chemical-free cleaning
alternatives to help reduce OH&S risks, reduce costs and increase throughput by turning beds and rooms faster, and in some cases, to maintain compliance certification requirements.
One health provider that decided to take a proactive approach to the fight against infection is Monash Health, Victoria’s leading and largest integrated health service.
BEING ON THE FRONT FOOT
After conducting a review of best practices in the healthcare sector and becoming aware of an increasing number of outbreaks across Australia, Monash Health made the decision it wanted to move to chemical-free infection prevention and cleaning programs. For Monash Health, this meant moving to an Environmental Cleaning program for patient rooms and clinical areas that used steam and re-useable ultra-microfibre cloths. Monash Health was already looking for an alternative to disposable detergent-impregnated cloths for healthcare workers, when an outbreak occurred in its neonatal unit, accelerating their search. Ultimately, the health service was looking for a product that would provide a superior clean as a routine, reduce health and safety risks, reduce bioburden, decrease sta and patient exposure to chemicals and reduce environmental impact.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PARTNER
It was at this point the health provider reached out to Rubbermaid Commercial Products (RCP) for more information on its HYGEN Disposable Microfibre System. What appealed to Monash Health about the HYGEN product was its claim of being the only line in the healthcare industry that boasted a proven record in removing 99.9 percent of microbes, including C. di, to help stop the chain of infection. It was also designed for use with or without chemicals. Monash Health was also impressed that RCP had tested its claims through third-party testing with water only.
After reviewing RCP’s third-party lab testing and technical specifications, Monash Health conducted its own internal testing to verify the microbe removal and efficacy claims. Monash Health was pleased with what they found and proceeded with a full product trial to confirm the product solutions, cleaning process and results could be used in a real world environment. During the trial, Monash Health used the HYGEN Disposable Microfibre cloths with only water, no chemicals.
A WINNING SOLUTION
Following a two-month trial period, Monash Health’s results confirmed the HYGEN Disposable Microfibre System performed in accordance with RCP’s promise. In addition to microbiological testing, the cloth was tested using an ultra violet marker (UVM), which also provided strong results. The feedback from users was also overwhelmingly positive, with staff noting their equipment looked visibly cleaner.
“Our facility had wanted to move to a better infection prevention cleaning program for some time; and we were pleased when this product demonstrated not only superiority but simplicity and a range of other advantages. These included reducing the risk of falls from wet surfaces, a reduction in allergies – as chemicals are eliminated. There have also been time savings, as one microfibre step provides the equivalent of two chemical steps,” said Elizabeth Gillespie, Sterilisation and Infection Control Codirector, Monash Health.
Monash Health was also surprised to find the HYGEN Disposable Microfibre system worked differently than other similar products, with each cloth designed with micro-scrubbers that removed microorganisms from a surface, while eliminating food sources for live pathogens.
Ms Gillespie added, “It’s not uncommon for disposable detergent impregnated wipes to leave behind a film that can serve as a breeding ground for live pathogens; so we were really pleased to find HYGEN did not have these issues.” As a result of the highly successful trial results, Monash Health has now implemented the HYGEN Disposable Microfibre in more than 50 facilities across Victoria.
Healthcare facilities are constantly looking to improve patient care, maintain patient safety and reduce unnecessary costs. As disease and hospital-acquired infections threaten patient and staff safety and hospital sustainability, strategic infection prevention programs are becoming increasingly more important. Hospitals need to be able to rely on products that do more than just clean, but help optimise infection prevention by providing superior performance and improved productivity.
“HYGEN is more effective than our previous solution and provides optimal infection prevention, better cleaning performance and improved productivity by reducing the need for two-step chemical cleaning. With patients known to harbour significant organisms such as VRE and viral gastroenteritis, its critical for us to have confidence in our cleaning solution. Cleaning times have also been reduced considerably which means our staff can be more productive and focus on spending more time with our patients.”
Co-Director of Sterilisation and
Infection Control, Monash Health