While budgets can often dictate the ability to upgrade equipment and adopt new protocols, improving the accuracy and efficiency of cleaning is paramount to any EVS staff. Reflecting on successful equipment for Crothall EVS teams, Feczko says UVC (ultraviolet with a shorter wavelength — also considered “germicidal UV”) disinfection machines have proven pivotal in the efficient eradication of infections for patient and operating rooms. In particular, triple-emitter setups can cover hard-to-reach areas without needing to maneuver the system around.

“For patient rooms, if two emitters are placed on each side of the bed with the third near the restroom, it has the ability and spectrum to fully eradicate microbes and bioload in roughly 15 minutes,” says Feczko. “The setup works particularly well after isolation cases. Once the patient is discharged and the room is manually cleaned, the UVC setup can be applied afterwards, just in case human error prevailed and something may have been missed.”

In a study conducted by Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Cincinnati, three patient rooms were tested for pathogen growth culture at three different stages: prior-to-EVS isolation clean, post-EVS isolation clean and post-UVC exposure. Between post-EVS termination clean and post-UVC exposure, there was a 37 percent reduction in positive growth culture and a complete eradication of pathogens. Another successful equipment adoption for Crothall EVS teams are electrostatic sprayers. Upfront research is needed to verify Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration, pathogen eradication capability and effective surface targeting, but Feczko says the technology serves as a suitable alternative for facilities that are wary of UVC.

“We’ve found a pickup of about 10 minutes in bed throughput using the electrostatic system, which is on-par or better than the UVC technology from a time-efficiency standpoint,” says Feczko. While also mentioning the potential of electrostatic sprayers, Patterson and McGurk alluded to options with a lower upfront investment cost. A simple switch many facilities can make is the adoption of hydrogen peroxide wipes for the disinfection of high-touch surfaces in patient rooms, as well as for mobile equipment.

“These wipes have the safest EPA rating and can be safely used by healthcare providers, visitors and non-healthcare professionals in the patient room,” says McGurk.

A transition away from reusable to disposable microfiber mops can also play a significant role in reducing cross-contamination across patient rooms, according to Patterson and McGurk. In a recent 11-hospital study McGurk participated in, 27 percent of the hospitals had reusable microfiber mops test positive for pathogens.

While increasingly commonplace in surgery sites, burn mills and isolation rooms, McGurk and Patterson say disposable mops have been implemented across entire facilities to reduce HAI rates in several hospitals.

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Overlooked Touchpoints Lead To Cross-Contamination