When managing a busy residential care home, you’ll be all too familiar with how quickly communal items must be cleaned and put back to work. But are you maintaining good hygiene standards in the process?
Commodes are an essential part of dignified day-to-day living for many.
Those with limited mobility, in particular, are reliant on commodes to safely and conveniently relieve themselves. In circumstances where the bathroom is located upstairs, or simply too far to walk, a commode can provide reliable toilet access, with limited need for additional aid.
Commode use can also allow care home residents to keep some of their independence; a very important factor in overall wellbeing, and one that’s known to help prevent further health decline, both mentally and physically.
Despite encouraging users to be independent, there are moments where it’s essential for clinicians to be hands-on; particularly where human waste management is concerned.
In particular, clinicians must be diligent during disposal, ensuring that appropriate hygiene standards are being met. Otherwise, this stretch to provide personal freedom could have a devastating cost on resident health.
In order to decrease the risk of infection, good commode hygiene must be underpinned by scrupulous cleaning.
HCAIs can result in serious and long-term health issues – even death. Prevention must be an absolute priority, especially when caring for vulnerable groups, such as the elderly.
As commodes in care homes are frequently shared across residents, it’s vital that they are adequately cleaned between use; and a visual check to ensure cleanliness simply isn’t adequate.
A commode must be cleaned following every episode of resident contact, without exception, while following specific infection control procedures.
Traditional methods of cleaning commode pots by hand are not to be relied upon.
Legacy cleaning standards for commodes relied heavily on manual cleaning, which in itself posed serious risks for clinicians and residents alike.
Taking a dirty commode to a sluice room, putting the contents into a slop hopper and then washing the commode by hand (often at a clinician’s convenience, rather than immediately after use) is no longer considered acceptable practice.
Washing by hand is, in itself, a dangerous act. Backsplash, steam from hot water and aerosolization from sprays can easily transfer dangerous pathogens into the air, causing significant risk for the clinician and anyone else in the area.
Similarly, used commodes that are taken to the sluice room and not immediately cleaned are often considered a nuisance by other staff members, due to their size. Moving these items to make space for other sluice room jobs can easily spread germs around the area; not to mention the unpleasant odour that can occur from pots sitting around a room for an undefined amount of time.
There’s also a possibility that a used commode (with its contents removed) could be mistaken for clean and taken another resident during periods of high demand. This is, of course, perilous for the next user.
Even if your care home employs a system where commodes are cleaned by hand right away, this is no guarantee of thorough sanitisation.
In care homes where commodes are moved and cleaned instantly, positive steps are clearly being taken to impede the spread of infection. However, this practice is unlikely to be a sufficient preventative measure in itself.
Standard manual cleaning procedures of using detergent, warm water and disposable cloths hold all the good intentions of a thorough sanitisation technique, but they are far from reliable.
As mentioned previously, there is a distinct hazard for the clinician doing the work. There is also ample room for human error.
Even the most well-meaning clinician, when pressed for time, can neglect to clean every inch of the commode pot – and even when it passes a visual inspection, germs can still remain.
Even when cleaning of commodes by hand is thorough, this is a time-consuming process. When you consider that the frame of the commode should also be wiped down, this is fast becoming an arduous task which keeps clinicians away from where they’re needed most – with the residents themselves.
The only way to ensure thorough cleaning of commode pots is to use a washer disinfector.
Quick, efficient and far less likely to fall foul of human error, washer disinfectors provide a truly reliable method of preventing infection in care homes.
Heating water to the extent that a clinician cannot, washer disinfectors are guaranteed to kill all germs that exist in an emptied commode pot. The use of detergent will then finish the job, leaving items smelling fresh, looking clean and – most importantly – assured to be sanitised.
Critically, this process allows clinicians to make far more effective use of their time. Rather than painstakingly scrubbing pots to the required standard, they can simply load up the washer disinfector and leave it to complete its cycle.
The clinician can then invest more of their valuable resources into active support of residents; a pleasing result for everyone.
DDC Dolphin washer disinfectors are at the pinnacle of sluice room innovation.
Not just suitable for commode pots, but re-usable bedpans and urine bottles too, a washer disinfector from DDC Dolphin is both smart and versatile.
A multi-directional wash array maximises the dispersal of water, using fixed and rotating nozzles; this results in maximum dispersal, but minimal water wastage.
All of our bedpan washers feature hands-free technology, so clinicians needn’t touch the machine and risk further spread of harmful spores. In addition, anti-microbial coatings and crevice-free surfaces mean that germs have nowhere to hide or grow.
With both front and top-loading models available, DDC Dolphin’s large selection of Bedpan Washers can provide solutions for all requirements.
If commodes are still being cleaned by hand in your facility contact our team of experts today and see how DDC Dolphin can assist in a safer environment for your residents and clinicians.