How Can Nosocomial Infections be Prevented?
Nosocomial infections are not as uncommon as we would wish to believe. Also called hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), these can be contracted when patients receive healthcare – whether it be a simple visit to the hospital or a surgical procedure. Hospitalised patients tend to have compromised immune systems, or be exposed to bacteria and viruses that they would not have been exposed to otherwise. Often preventable, the main challenge with preventing HAIs is compliance to set standards by all parties including healthcare practitioners, visitors and other patients.
Current Infection Prevention Solutions
Current solutions implemented by government and healthcare initiatives include hand hygiene and the sterilization of surgical tools before use. This is a secondary solution as it treats a symptom instead of the source. Removing bacteria from the hands of every healthcare professional can reduce transmission, but only if those surfaces around them are also decontaminated. Otherwise, the clean hands are just transferring bacteria and viruses from one surface to another and most likely to patients.
The primary solution is treating the source of the problem – the bacterial breeding ground and reservoir. Surfaces within a meter of the patient are the most critical to disinfect. Even the cleanest of hands can transfer bacteria from a bedside table, or patient file to the vulnerable patient. Common areas where bacteria have been found are:
- bedside tables
- Patient file/clipboard
- Table for sterile surgical tools
- Keyboards and computers
- Door handles
New Solutions – Treating the Cause, not the Symptom
Removing all risk of HAIs may be close to impossible, but reducing the risk to near zero is the ultimate goal. Surface and environmental cleaning is critical for patient safety and the reduction of nosocomial infections such as MRSA, C. diff, VRE, CRE, Acinetobacter, E. coli, and more. Cleaning of common, high-touch surfaces are considered necessary in hospitals – but there is no way to ensure that it has been done properly, or even at all. Without a tracking system, and owing to a human error in such a high-risk, high-stress, and busy job, there is no possible process by which hospitals can ensure that the necessary cleaning is conducted. However, cleaning is simply the use of detergent and water, removing organic matter. It does not ensure a disinfection – or the elimination of tough hospital-related bacteria. This is where UV disinfection and tracking systems can turn the system around.
MUVi UV and disinfection tracking
When a patient is discharged or sent for a procedure, this is a chance to do a full disinfection. Generally, a clean is performed but does not ensure the elimination of bacteria like MRSA or C.diff. A full disinfection with current chemical procedures takes up to two hours – only after all ventilation and airflow have been blocked. MUVi’s UV unit is just ten minutes and the tracking system will exhibit a signal change, proving the room has been disinfected. This allows hospitals to keep track of rooms that have not been disinfected for days at a time and allows Patient Health and Safety Standards adherence within the hospital.
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