Growth and change are integral to the thriving nature of bacteria. Advancing technology is our greatest defence.
The medical technology industry is worth some £7.6 billion in the UK alone . Spanning a host of fields, the developmental nature of medicine is boundless.
Until the last disease is cured (and the final injury prevented), there will always be a push for the latest upgrades in healthcare innovation and engineering.
Medical science must continue to diversify, while examining the progress of healthcare throughout the globe; this includes pioneering solutions that are cheaper, quicker, more effective and less invasive, to suit individual markets.
HCAIs are the result of continuous evolution.
The bacteria responsible for infections (whether they were acquired in hospital or otherwise) can develop antibiotic resistance in order to keep dividing and multiplying. They are notoriously challenging to kill, and to that end, we rely heavily on good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of pathogens, as opposed to letting them spore and attempting to deal with the aftermath. If you've experienced a recent outbreak in your facility and you're unsure on how to move forward, take a look at this article on futureproofing your sluice room.
Below are our top 5 technological developments which have revolutionised infection control in healthcare settings by stemming the spread of potentially lethal microorganisms and simultaneously saving lives.
1. Pulsed UV Disinfection.
Where manual disinfection may not hit every spot, UV disinfection can reach every microorganism, without the same margin for human error.
Producing a high-intensity ultraviolet light which covers the entire disinfecting spectrum (UV-C), this energy then passes through the cell walls of bacteria. Destroying nucleic acids and disrupting DNA, UV-C kills or inactivates the microorganism, preventing its reproduction.
UV disinfection has no residual effect which could damage those who come into contact with treated surfaces, as well as being relatively simply to implement and requiring little space. It’s a great choice for wards, especially if they’ve been closed for a deep clean.
Where disposable pulp is used for human waste management, a macerator is the ultimate solution to disposal.
Using a series of blades to pulverise waste (and its pulp container) into tiny pieces, the remaining fine sludge is then flushed through the normal sewerage system. Combined with hands-free operation, antimicrobial surface coatings and disinfectant technology to prevent any bacteria from proliferating inside the drum, a macerator is a quick and hygienic method of human waste disposal.
Available in a multitude of sizes, macerators are suitable for large hospitals and small care homes alike. The standard of sanitation remains the same, while the capacity can vary, depending on individual needs; similarly, noise reduction technology will ensure that they needn’t be placed far from the point of care, as per NHSP Standard Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines .
3. Air Steriliser.
Unpleasant smells are often the first indicator of a potential hygiene hazard. As we can’t spot microorganisms with the naked eye, scent is nature’s alarm bell; but that doesn’t make it welcome or agreeable for those in the vicinity.
Rather than masking an unpleasant smell, it’s best to get rid of the source – and that’s where an air steriliser comes in.
Often placed in areas such as washrooms, air sterilisers combine UV technology, negative ions, photo plasma and ozone to kill bacteria, viruses, mould, fumes and other impurities; all of which contribute to offensive odours and potential illness.
4. Fogging Machine.
With the power to destroy C. Dificile, E. Coli, Influenza, MRSA and Norovirus, fogging machines are particularly useful in large clinical settings; especially if there’s been an HCAI outbreak.
Coating an area with tiny liquid droplets, a fogging machine can reach areas that cleaning by hand might struggle to reach, or even notice.
As the droplets are so small, they can cover a wide surface area without much effort; the top, bottom and sides of a surface will all be treated. Not only does this help to deep clean an area after an infection has been noted, but it can keep regular cleaning at a high standard, too.
5. Long-Lasting, Alcohol-Free, Hand And Surface Sanitisers.
Alcohol-free hand sanitisers are not only convenient and effective, but they’re kind to skin, too.
Gels containing alcohol can exacerbate skin conditions, or even create one – and given the importance of hand hygiene in medical settings, this is entirely possible when sanitisers are frequently used.
A sanitiser which is alcohol-free will not only be kinder to the skin of clinicians, but it can provide protection for up to 6 hours; much longer than an alcohol-based equivalent.
In addition, anti-bacterial wipes have also been proven to provide an exceptional barrier against harmful bacteria, keeping surfaces disinfected for up to 12 hours.
By using the latest technology, you can keep both your clinicians and patients safe from the spread of devastating HCAIs. It can save lives, let alone the reputation and finances of your facility.
If you've already experienced an infection control crisis and you're unsure on what to do next...take a look at our futureproofing sluice rooms article