Addressing Floor Contamination In A Healthcare Environment
Recent research is suggesting that floors can be a source of contamination and may result in the spread of germs. According to reports on Infection Control Today, despite daily cleaning, bacterial and viral contamination can transfer from shoes to floors and spread quickly throughout a facility.
For example, research found that cleaning floors removed 80 percent of bacteria, and disinfecting eliminated 99 percent of the threat. But, in most cases, recontamination occurred in as little as one hour.
In an effort to reduce recontamination and the spread of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, protective shoe coverings have been encouraged in many healthcare settings. Studies show, though, that the process improvement didn't necessarily help. Instead, studies found that the shoe coverings picked up substantial amounts of live bacteria.
There are a number of steps that can keep floors from spreading dangerous germs. Effective daily cleaning involves removal of dry soil and damp/wet soil through vacuuming, dust/damp mopping and other processes.
In healthcare facilities, specifically, low-level, hospital-grade disinfectants are recommended for floor-care disinfection.
When selecting a disinfectant (the Environmental Protection Agency regulates and registers all low-level disinfectants), start by reviewing technical research bulletins provided by vendors. These bulletins list the microorganisms that the disinfectant has been tested against. Match the tested microorganisms against those of concern in the environment in question. In general, a disinfectant should kill Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi and viruses.
It’s also important to compute the parts per million (ppm) of active disinfectant. The resulting number can determine how effective a disinfectant will be.
As the cleaning staff mops a floor and immerses the mop into the bucket of disinfectant solution, the solution will degrade. At approximately 300 to 350 ppm, a disinfectant will be rendered ineffective. It is recommended to change the soiled disinfectant solution every three to four rooms.
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