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How to the spread of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), has not only been a primary topic of conversation among healthcare professionals, but suppliers to the industry are also making efforts to provide products that improve the safety of patients and hospital staff. From hand sanitizers to disposable remote controls, prevention of these infections has brought about a surge of products. Such products aimed at fighting cross-contamination are excellent means of deterrence; however, without the proper training and compliance in an entire facility, appropriate control measures may not be followed. Its extremely important to develop common objectives among healthcare staff in order to implement standard infection control policies.
One best practice that has been implemented in many healthcare facilities to aid in preventing the transfer of infections is a micro-fiber cleaning system. High-touch areas, which include bed rails, door knobs, handles, all restroom fixtures, and counters, are high risk for carrying contaminants. While proper hand hygiene is important to prevent cross-contamination, disinfecting these areas is fundamental in reducing the potential transfer of microorganisms. A micro-fiber cleaning system is the perfect solution.
The University of California Davis Medical Center proved through testing that micro-fiber materials were able to penetrate surface pores and remove dust particles that conventional string mops and cloths missed. After cleaning with conventional tools, a bacteria culture showed a mere 30 percent reduction, while micro-fiber materials proved to reduce bacteria by 99 percent. With proven statistics such as these, it is necessary for environmental services personnel, infection control practitioners, and purchasing managers to evaluate the impact that efficient floor care and small surface cleaning practices have on improving infection control. Additionally, this team of healthcare personnel must ensure that the highest standards are being achieved in a cost efficient manner.
Jones Companies, a textile manufacturer to the cleaning industry for 70 years, has made significant advancements in micro-fiber technology. Its speedsÂ® micro-fiber cleaning system utilizes Deep Groove micro-fiber technology called 4DG Technology, which is a registered trademark of Clemson University Research Foundation.
4DG fiber is produced by using only one polymer and is uniquely designed with deep grooves or channels that run along the length of each fiber. The grooves provide unique features to the fiber that can serve as ducts to move fluid and store and trap substances. Due to its onepolymer construction, 4DG can endure bleach- safe laundering. In addition, speeds contains a multi-fiber blend that provides for additional absorption and is protected with an antimicrobial fi ber to inhibit the growth of destructive bacteria on the pad. The blend is resistant to Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumonaie The speeds system takes infection control practices to a new level. When using the speeds fl at mop system, pads are placed into a bucket, trough, or pail that holds approximately one to two gallons of water, cleaner, or disinfectant.
The number of mops placed in the container depends on the number of rooms to be cleaned during that shift. A single mop is removed and wrung out to the desired degree of wetness and placed on the floor. The mop pad adheres to the fl at mop head by Velcro and the floor is cleaned with a single mop. Once one room is cleaned, the mop is removed from the mop frame and placed in a bag or container for laundering at the end of the shift. The micro-fiber fl at mop never re-enters the container where the clean mops are held. Because one mop per room is used, the possibility for cross-contamination to occur is greatly reduced.
Also included in the speeds system is speeds limited pads and speeds durable cleaning towels.
maintain the same excellent cleaning performance and characteristics as original
; however, they are priced economically in order to be used as a limited or disposable product. The durable cleaning towels offer the cleaning efficiency of micro-fiber technology at superior economics vs. conventional import micro-fiber towels. Composed of 100 percent micro-fiber, the nonwoven towels work great on all high-touch surfaces with only water but are suitable for use with a variety of cleaning solutions.
and the durable cleaning towels have a significant impact on the health and quality of a facility and are excellent components of a contamination prevention program.
Infection control practitioners can easily test the efficacy of the cleaning systems by running comparative trials within their facilities. They will quickly find that the fl at mop micro-fiber system is far advanced over the string mop system and that the speeds micro-fiber pad cleans better than the traditional micro-fiber mop. Hospital employees have commented that they were able to pick up dirt with micro-fiber mops after going over a floor that had initially been cleaned using a traditional looped or string mop. They were then able to pick up additional dirt after going over the micro-fiber cleaned floor again with the speeds micro-fiber pad. The process was reversed, and there was no additional dirt found when the speeds pad had been used first. These trials are an indication of a better floor cleaning system that can lead to improved infection control within the hospital.
Purchasing managers will need to look at the total system benefits when evaluating the fl at mop systems vs. the string mop. String mop heads require replacement every four to six weeks and are disposed of through the solid waste system. Speeds pads will last several months and cost approximately the same as a string mop head. While a floor-care technician may use one string mop during a day, one fl at mop is needed per room; however, the large amount of fl at mops used per day must be weighed against their durability after months of use. Additionally, greater cleaning and infection control are provided by using the micro-fiber fl at mop. Approximately 21 gallons of floor cleaning solution are used by the string mop process for each worker per shift. The micro-fiber mop system uses only two gallons of such solution, which amounts to a savings of approximately 90 percent. A similar percentage of savings in cleaning and disinfection chemicals is achieved through use of the speeds system when compared to the string mop. This constitutes good pollution prevention practices, as well as significant cost savings within the healthcare facility.
Developing a common infection control objective among environmental services personnel, infection control practitioners, purchasing managers, and suppliers alike will aid in reducing the death toll due to hospital-acquired infections. Working together to provide active education of proper hand hygiene to training on cleaning surface contamination and floor care with micro-fiber products will aid in deterring the spread of infection and the ultimate success of a contamination prevention program.Â