The healthcare setting is a potential haven for dangerous pathogens that can pose a great risk to patients. Prevention of hospital-acquired infections (HAI) has always been one of the biggest challenges for EVS departments performing medical cleaning. Despite the increased effort, HAI are still responsible for approximately 75,000 deaths per year. HAIs are a significant threat to patient safety. While minimal effort is required to prevent the spread of these dangerous germs, many commercial cleaning services are not taking the required steps to stop HAIs.
Make sure that your cleaning service is doing everything it can to prevent these dangerous infections.
What is a Hospital-Acquired Infection (HAI)?
Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAI), also known as nosocomial infections, are infections that are acquired in a hospital or other health care facility, often occurring in patients who require the use of devices like central lines or catheters. An HAI can be acquired in hospital, nursing home, rehabilitation facility, outpatient clinic, dental office or other clinical settings. They can also develop at surgical sites.
Healthcare procedures naturally leave a patient vulnerable to the germs that cause HAIs. These germs can be spread in healthcare settings from patient to patient, on unwashed hands of healthcare personnel, or through the improper use or reuse of equipment. Open wards, such as Emergency Rooms or other treatment facilities in which numerous patient beds are arranged close together, can significantly increase the risk of HAI, causing them to spread rapidly among patients.
How Can Hospital-Acquired Infections Be Prevented?
- Disinfecting vs. Sanitizing
Healthcare industry has strict guidelines when it comes to cleaning and disinfection solutions. Create a comprehensive list of all surfaces that have the potential for patient contact. These areas should not just be cleaned, but disinfected. Be sure that you choose a cleaning service that is experienced in HAI prevention procedures to help eliminate the risk of spreading infection.
- Specialized Training for Housekeeping Staff
Your housekeeping staff should be well-trained in the latest compliance standards such as EOC, JCAHO, HIPPA, Infection Control Prevention and Medical Waste Management. All supervisors and employees should be made aware of the latest compliance requirements and understand the importance of proper sanitary practices.
- Hand Washing
Practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections. Cleaning your hands can prevent the spread of germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics and are becoming difficult, if not impossible, to treat. According to the CDC, healthcare providers clean their hands less than half of the times they should. On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection.
The Financial Impact of Hospital-Acquired Infections
Hospitals are rated on the number of HAI incidents in their patients. If a hospital has a high rate, it can also lead to incredibly bad press. In most cases, patients have a choice between which hospital they go to for treatment. News of C. Diff or MRSA outbreaks travels fast and will result in patients not choosing that particular hospital. Empty beds result in a potentially substantial loss of revenue for the hospital.
Hiring an effective cleaning company that understands hospital-acquired infections, and knows how to best prevent them is a productive first step to ensuring your hospital remains infection free. At OctoClean, our team knows how to help your hospital fight the spread of infections. Contact us for additional information on our medical cleaning services.