By Dr. Afzaal -VDS™ Chief Biomedical Staff Writer.
Copyright ©2020 VDS – Virus Disinfecting Services™
Health care facilities are crucial in controlling the spread of infections. It is because every inch of a healthcare facility can transmit infection. The cleaning and disinfection of the health care facilities are thus extremely crucial. Cleaning helps to clear the microbial contamination from the surfaces. On the other hand, we are aware that cleaning is not enough. Disinfection and sanitation are more thorough. They get rid of the microorganisms that remain even after cleaning.
What are health care facilities?
Health care facilities are institutions that provide medical aid to patients. During emergencies, health care facilities receive a large number of patients. These patients often suffer from diseases. For instance, these days, health care institutions mostly consist of COVID-19 patients. Examples of health institutions include:
- Primary health care centers
- Isolation camps
- Burn units
- Feeding centers
The importance of disinfection and sanitation of the health care facilities
According to the CDC, health care facilities can harbor microorganisms. These microorganisms are harmful to the patients as well as visitors. Therefore, such an environment is quite risky for patients. Disinfection and sanitation on a routine basis help in reducing the risk. Approximately 30 to 40% of the infections are by the hands of health care workers. Apart from these, other non-critical surfaces can cause secondary infections. Non-critical surfaces include bedside tables and railings. This is why sanitation and disinfection are essential processes.
Recommendations for the sanitation and disinfection of health care facilities
CDC and WHO draft guidelines relevant to health. They have given us guidelines that help in controlling the spread of infection. A breakdown of these guidelines are as follows:
Sterilization is killing off the microorganism. However, sterilization does not always guarantee this. However, it is more effective than cleaning. According to guidelines, it kills 99.9999% of the microorganisms. You can sterilize an object by chemical and physical means. Physical means include the application of heat or radiation. Chemical sterilization is with the help of chemicals such as ethylene oxide.
EPA registered disinfectants are most common in health care facilities. These disinfectants are rapid-acting and non-toxic. It is important to dilute the disinfectant according to the directions by the manufacturer. Disinfectants can kill bacteria, fungi as well as viruses.
CDC recommends disinfecting all the health care equipment and also those areas which can cause secondary infection. The process of disinfection should take place regularly. This frequency can be daily or thrice a week. It is also preferable to replace mopping solutions with adequate disinfectant solutions.
A review of the guidelines shows that disinfection is the preferred method. It is vital to practice caution when preparing dilutions of disinfectant. Furthermore, do not use disinfectants on infants, bassinets, or incubators. It is important to note that cleaning of non-patient areas with detergent and water is enough. It includes the administrative areas of the health care facilities. Special care and instructions are important during the disinfection and sterilization process. Inadequate practices are ineffective and may aggravate the problems within the facility.