There are many bacteria and organisms that cause HAIs but the most common are C. diff, Norovirus, MRSA and CRE. 

Most HAIs are difficult to treat: first, because they lurk in the intestines of many people and are not a problem unless those individuals are immunocompromised, and second, because they are not treatable with antibiotics.

“They spread on contaminated equipment or contaminated hands,” says Darrell Hicks, director of environmental services and patient transportation at St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, and author of “Infection Control for Dummies.”

Furthermore, once they invade the hospital environment, they’re exceedingly hard to eradicate, adds Benjamin Tanner, president of Antimicrobial Test Laboratories, Round Rock, Texas. For example, when C. diff exits the body, the bacteria form resistant endospores.

“These spores in particular are challenging to disinfect,” says Tanner. “Once they enter the environment, there are only a few disinfectants and technologies that can kill them. And the spores tend to get everywhere…moving easily from surface to surface.”

While antibiotics cannot treat these illnesses, infection control cleaning and hygiene can prevent them. 

BSCs should first recognize that not all healthcare environments are created equal, and that even within the healthcare facility, areas differ in terms of the infection control cleaning methods needed in each space. 

“There is no question that shiny floors and attractive spaces that are safe, clean and functional are important from a customer satisfaction point of view,” says Heller. “But when it comes to infection control and resident safety, this is where the two worlds split apart.” 

Cleaning practices for each area must consider the unique risks involved. As BSCs price their services, Heller says they need to break the facility into separate components with three very distinct cleaning mandates:

Administration and public spaces are all about public satisfaction. Keeping these areas clean, safe and shiny provides strong public appeal; general patient treatment areas and accommodations pose more risk and BSCs need to define infection control cleaning standards for these spaces;

Critical-care environments, such as operating rooms, intensive care units and contaminated spaces, pose the highest risk and require more intensive cleaning precautions and practices.

“As BSCs design staffing patterns, price services and set up management processes and controls, they need to look at each of these distinct environments separately,” says Heller. “You might be looking at different cleaning frequencies, different cleaning procedures and specialized products and personal protective equipment for each. All of this manifests into the intensity of labor, so if they are putting their labor down to a square-foot basis, they’re going to wind up having three different metrics of productivity to apply.”


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