2022 Clean Hospitals Day International Conference Tackles Environmental Hygiene Issues

Infection Control Today, Volume 26, Issue 10

Gathering in beautiful Geneva, Switzerland, experts from all over the world will discuss the problems and possible solutions facing environmental hygiene today. Alexandra Peters, PhD, Clean Hospitals, talks to ICT® about the details.

Infection Control Today® (ICT®) welcomed Alexandra Peters, PhD, back, this time to speak about the first annual Clean Hospitals Day International Conference taking place on October 20, 2022, in Geneva, Switzerland. In the exclusive interview, Peters describes the upcoming conference and her presentation. ICT® covered the research she will present at the conference here.

ICT®: Would you please tell the audience about the upcoming Clean Hospitals Conference?

Alexandra Peters, PhD: It's the first international Clean Hospitals Day Conference [in person]. Clean Hospitals is a public [and] private partnership that we've been building up since 2018. We've started what we call Clean Hospitals Day, which is once a year, the same as the World Hand Hygiene Day [except] for environmental hygiene (EH), and in health care. It’s putting like cleaners in the spotlight, putting hospital managers in the spotlight and EH in general, and getting a lot of activity around that social media and getting company involvement, getting hospital involvement, and it's still in its nascent stages. This will only be the third year that we’re attempting to do it. But it's the first time that we're doing a live international conference, and the first time since COVID-19 that we’ve been able to get everyone from EH to come together.

ICT®: And all in the beautiful city of Geneva. What topics will be covered?

AP: We have 4 main themes for the conference. One is environmental control. The other is the self-assessment framework that we've been working on medical device reprocessing, and then air and water control. All of the 4 themes of the scientific program are broken up with different speakers. There are 10 sessions. Some of [the themes] have 3 [speakers], some of them have 2 [speakers]. There are 10 different speakers, 10 sessions, and we're going into a lot of interesting and salient issues around EH today. We have Stephanie Dancer coming from the United Kingdom. We have some of the head doctors at our hospital. We have people coming from the Netherlands and from France. There's a lot going on. It'll be nice for all of us to get together and [have] an exchange in a way that we couldn't during COVID-19.

Then we have the scientific program. Our stakeholder companies are doing different symposia at different times during the day. One is during the lunch break. There are another few symposia during the coffee break. And they’re showing the scientific studies that have been published using their different advances and different inventions and technologies that they've been working on with hand and EH. [The conference is] covering a big scope. I've seen the subjects already, and the talks are going to be great. They're also inviting speakers. It'll be a dense day of a lot of interesting people bringing ideas together. I'm very excited about that.

ICT®: Please tell us about your presentation as well.

AP: [I will be] speaking about the health care, the EH self-assessment framework. It is a tool for health care facilities to assess how well their EH programs are working and where they can be improved. The framework was organized around the 5 components of the World Health Organization (WHO)multimodal strategy for improvement that was used that was developed in Geneva, actually, and then that was adopted by the WHO, for hand hygiene, and that's used all over the world. They've done 3 global surveys and it's a big deal with 1000s of hospitals that have participated, and you can see how health care facilities are improving every few years and how they're actually able to focus on the areas of weakness directly because it's easy to say, “We need to improve,” but it's difficult to figure out exactly where to allocate your resources and [figure out] what kind of resources. It's even more of a challenge in EH, because it's such a vast field, and there's so many components, so many different people involved, you have your cleaning staff, nursing staff, procurement, hospital management. You have all these different actors. And then you have all these different environments, surfaces, laundry and air control, and water treatment, waste management, and all these different things that you're supposed to be able to have an overview of everything.

What the self-assessment framework does is allow you to drill down and see which areas need to be improved. Maybe it's not even the products that are being used, or the systems that are set up, maybe it's just a question of better communication and better teamwork, and how to change workplace culture, for example. So that's what we'll be speaking about. We did the pilot study that was published in America Journal of Infection Control that we've already spoken about [previously]. It was the pilot study of this tool, and we had 51 hospitals from 35 different countries, and it highlights how much work there is left to do. The tool is almost done, so we're going to be diving into that a little bit more, with a little bit more detail.

There is time for networking and a cocktail afterwards. The conference is taking place right next to the airport, within 5 minutes’ walk from where your plane lands, in the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Come in, set your stuff down, walk to the conference. That [hotel] was chosen because we have so many people coming from all over so that they can have an easier time getting there and weather shouldn't be too cold. Geneva is an incredibly gorgeous city.

ICT®: When the conference comes, ICT® we'll be covering and speaking with a few of the speakers. Thank you so much.

AP: Thank you, and if anyone wants to get in touch with us about coming to the conference, don't hesitate to contact us, and we'll get everything sorted.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.