Our hospitals are visited by every walk of life but more importantly, they are only a cab ride and air fare away from the rampant outbreaks like Ebola, MERS, Tuberculosis and Measles.
That is why the role of the infection control experts must be taken seriously in our hospitals today. There are many aspects to managing infection control however. One area that is often over looked is the hospital environment.
Imagine this scenario: A tourist travels to a third world country and unknowingly contracts a super bug. Returning to our country, the tourist has symptoms and walks through the front door of your hospital to see a doctor. On the way in, the tourist stops to cough into his hands and ends up holding onto the wood desk to catch his breath before he sits down in a wooden fabric covered chair with a rip in it and foam exposed. Neither wood nor the fabric can be thoroughly disinfected due to the porous nature of the materials. You are the next person through that door and you stop to look at the pamphlets on that same desk and sit down in that same chair to read it and wait your turn to see the doctor.
Okay, the scenario is only fictitious but how easily could this actually happen? The term H.A.I. (hospital acquired infections) was coined because it does happen and steps are being taken to prevent it.
In the accreditation process, many hospitals are being instructed to remove wooden furniture, especially from the sterile areas but also from patient care areas. The cleaners used today are more aggressive than 20 years ago and will erode the varnish very quickly, down to the porous wood leaving it sponge-like, to collect infection. This includes desks, chairs, cabinets and lots of shelving that is still very commonly seen in hospitals. The acid test question is: If you had to disinfect everything in this part of the hospital, can it be done thoroughly?
An interesting study was conducted at a hospital in Canada where they had procured seating from an office supply chain. Although the hospital saved a lot of money in the purchase, the construction of these chairs did not meet healthcare infection control standards. The third party company did swab testing on the seating and provided a report to the management of the hospitals. Needless to say, these chairs were very quickly replaced with appropriate healthcare seating and outside of top management, the results are being kept closely guarded.
The new level of infection control standards should be taken seriously as CDC reports that statistics on HAI in 2011 was 722,000 cases and the death rate as a result of HAI is close to 10%.
Stat Medical is recreating hospital enviroments, converting wood structures into Stainless Steel and providing appropriate surfaces in furniture and equipment. Our expertise in this field will help Canadian Hospitals through accreditations and improve the ability to thoroughly disinfect a hospital room.