Keeping staff and patients safe from the spread of infection and disease is top priority for hospitals. Due to the severity and variety of life altering situations seen daily, plus the potential for the spread of communicable disease, meeting hospital cleaning standards is a must.
The challenge becomes even more difficult when culprits are invisible, i.e. microscopic particles, particulate matter, and pathogens that live in the air, water, and on hard and soft surfaces throughout a building.
Viruses in the air for example, can linger and settle on surfaces after a room has been “cleaned.” Water that is not thoroughly filtered, or that sits stationary for any prolonged amount of time can grow bacteria, causing the spread of disease to happen unknowingly.
Additionally, hard and soft surfaces hold the potential to carry air borne viruses (that have settled on surfaces), not to mention any dirt or bacteria that may have been missed during “wipe downs” or washing. Hospital cleaning standards are put in place to tackle these issues, but things can be missed.
Additional issues arise due to inadequate staff training: “Routine environmental cleaning processes are often suboptimal due to human factors such as inadequate training, resulting in incomplete removal of pathogens” (HFM). Environmental Services, or EVS, are typically called into rooms to sanitize and aid in stopping the spread of communicable diseases. Their job is incredibly important, however, due to poor training, the job is not always done well.
Add to that staff shortages and absenteeism and the job can be left to the nursing and medical staff who are often too busy, or also in short supply, to be able to handle the cleaning in a way that meets hospital safety standards.
The “invisible” matter left behind can be life threatening if not handled appropriately. The CDC estimates that nearly “2 million patients suffer from Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI’s) every year and nearly 100,000 of them die.” The CDC goes on to say that these are preventable cases of illness—thus the importance of effective cleaning and decontamination and the ability to confidently say a room has been cleaned.
The human eye alone cannot determine if a space has been adequately cleaned when dealing with microscopic particles and airborne pathogens. And yet, it is increasingly important for hospitals to be able to confirm that spaces are cleaned and disinfected to prevent the spread of communicable disease.
EVS, Environmental Services Technicians, in hospitals continue to be introduced to new tools and materials that help to ensure areas have been completely cleaned. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) Bioluminescence Testing and Fluorescent Markers are some of the more common tools that help staff ensure all high touch point areas have been cleaned to hospital standards.
These tools detect the organic matter found in living organisms that cannot be seen by the human eye. The use of these tools delivers important information to EVS and hospital staff almost immediately after cleaning and help to ensure that patient rooms are in fact free from harmful contaminants.
The ability to see this left behind matter through additional testing is one step in providing a “confirmed clean,” meaning EVS and staff can demonstrate a room is able to meet hospital cleaning standards and pass inspections.
Adding intelligent cleaning equipment as a counterpart to EVS and hospital cleaning teams, is an effective way for end users to ensure rooms have been properly cleaned between patients, prior to the testing described above.
Advancements like ATP testing and Fluorescent Markers are important technologies helping in the fight against HAI’s, but before the testing can be effective, the rooms must be thoroughly cleaned. Advanced cleaning equipment, like floor sweepers and scrubbers, are an effective way to clean the first layers of dirt and debris.
Intelligent cleaning equipment relies on advanced technology to collect real time data, store it in the Cloud, and provide reports for end users. Data reporting like this allows hospital staff to see the path of the machine, exactly what surfaces are cleaned, and for how long the cleaning lasted.
Using advanced cleaning equipment in addition to the tools staff already rely on can help EVS and cleaning staff ensure that they are meeting the highest standards.
Due to the data tracking capabilities, intelligent cleaning equipment can provide detailed reports that show an overall picture of a machine’s path during any session. The access to this data provides hospitals with a “confirmed clean” that can be shared with patients, staff, and stake holders when necessary.
Being able to view this information provides another layer of insight into how well a specific area is cleaned and results in important analysis of the work of the equipment—essentially providing a confirmed clean.
Intelligent cleaning equipment like, ICE Cobotics, i-Synergy sweepers and scrubbers, are designed to work alongside staff as a way to keep spaces clean in order to support overall health and wellbeing of people. The advanced technology allows end users to know their spaces have been cleaned and just how often, helping in the fight against the spread of communicable disease.
For more information on how ICE Cobotics can help please reach out to our Client Care Team.