From hospitals to long-term care facilities, healthcare professionals are finding that healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), such as C. difficile, norovirus and even carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, are becoming more resistant and harder to kill. Recent investigative articles from USA TODAY, have further shed light on these issues noting that C. difficile is linked in hospital records to more than 30,000 deaths a year in the U.S., while death rates for carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections can be as much as 40 percent.
To help healthcare facilities prepare for and prevent HAI outbreaks, Kim LaFreniere, PhD, associate research fellow at Clorox Professional Products Company, offers professionals the following five tips:
1. Choose the right disinfectant. Always use an EPA-registered disinfectant and follow the product manufacturer’s instructions for use. Ready-to-use disinfecting wipes can offer an easy solution for disinfecting surfaces because they are pre-moistened to deliver the proper concentration of active ingredients every time they are used.
-A study published in the November 2011 issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology found that using Clorox Healthcare™ Bleach Germicidal Wipes instead of a quaternary ammonium product for daily room and discharge cleaning resulted in an 85 percent reduction in C. difficile infections.
2. Don’t ignore dwell times. Products that contain bleach are generally effective against a broad range of microorganisms, including C. difficile, and have short dwell times. It is always best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions first and examine the label for kill claims for relevant pathogens. Some disinfectants have a shorter dwell time than others for HAIs. For example, Clorox Healthcare™ Bleach Germicidal Wipes are EPA-registered to kill C. difficile spores in 3 minutes.
3. Follow the proper disinfecting procedure. Allow the surface to remain wet for the recommended contact time and then wipe any residue with a clean, damp cloth if necessary. For the best results, areas that are visibly soiled with feces, blood or other bodily substances should be pre-cleaned before disinfecting.
4. Pay close attention to hot spots. Areas that see the most daily interactions from patients, visitors and staff are the most easily contaminated and require disinfecting on a frequent basis. Some important high-touch patient areas and items to disinfect include:
- IV stands
- BP monitors and cuffs
- Bedside tables
- Bathroom handrails
- Toilet seat handles
- Drawer and door handles
- Light switches
- Nurse call buttons
5. Ongoing staff training is critical. Staff needs to understand existing and emerging pathogens, contact precautions, hand hygiene and recommended environmental cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Healthcare professionals should adopt a comprehensive infection control plan that includes these measures as they are all necessary to reduce the spread of HAIs.
For more information about HAI prevention and C. difficile, including educational resources and product information, visit www.cloroxhealthcare.com/cdiff.