‘Life finds a way’.
This line, immortalised by Jeff Goldblum in the 1993 action adventure Jurassic Park, elegantly sums up the fight against infection and disease.
The growing tide of antibiotic resistant super bugs is proof that – given enough time and the right conditions – a living organism regardless of size can adapt, overcome and flourish.
Whilst this may seem remarkable on a fictional island full of dinosaurs, it poses a genuine problem to medical professionals trying to keep their patients fit and healthy.
Harmful microbes are getting tougher, more resilient and in cases like C. Diff and others, more deadly. As such clinicians and providers have to respond in kind. It is after all a fight against infection, and a tougher opponent means a tougher fight.
Times Have Changed
In truth methods to prevent the spread of infection are always changing. In less than 150 years infection control has grown well beyond just vaccines and wearing gloves when operating on patients.
Now antimicrobial stewardship, infection surveillance, outbreak investigation and a host of other approaches are all in place with the sole purpose of keeping people safe.
Effective solutions for the disposal of infectious material are no different.
It was not all that long ago that reusable bedpans were washed by hand – and actually still are in some parts of the world. On the surface the bedpan was clean. All physical evidence of the potentially infectious material had been removed.
Of course, the reality is, without a proper disinfection process, a reusable bedpan can be awash with harmful microbes.
Needless to say, outbreaks are common in places where bedpans are still washed by hand. However, it isn’t just the bedpan that serves as the vector for infection but the clinician too. The clinician, through cleaning the bedpan, has been exposed (in some cases multiple times) to the infectious material through contact and inhalation and now poses a major risk to themselves, patients and anyone else they come into contact with.
Moving away from disinfection by hand was – and is – a major step forward in the fight against infection.
The Minimum Requirement
Infection control solutions – specifically bedpan washers – are required to follow the guidance laid out in HTM 2030.
The document covers a host of factors including design, installation, operation and maintenance. It serves as the minimum standard in order to ensure that the infection control solution does exactly what it’s supposed to do.
This includes materials used which must be rust-resistant and/or non-porous. They need to be easy to clean, easy to install and straightforward to maintain.
Operation has to be intuitive and easy to teach in order to keep user errors to a minimum. The water has to be heated to 80 degrees Celsius and held at that temperature for 2 minutes in order to maximise the effectiveness of the disinfection cycle.
These are the minimum requirements for bedpan washers.
The danger of working to the minimum requirement is it doesn’t allow for the very worst which a serious infection or major outbreak can throw at you.
The reality is that a basic model – as with any piece of technology regardless of whether it’s a commercial or domestic market – does a basic job. Which isn’t good enough in a clinical setting.
You are responsible for the lives of patients and clinicians so you should be demanding the absolute best from your infection control solution.
If you were to review your infection control solution, how would it stack up against the highest standards in the industry?
Are your machines protected by an antimicrobial coating designed to almost eliminate the chances of harmful microbes growing on your machine housings?
Are the chambers made from a single piece of folded metal instead of a welded chamber, preventing microbes from festering in the machine?
Are your machines operated using hands-free technology so as to protect your clinicians completely from coming into contact with any harmful microbes?
Do your machines utilise pre-wash or post-wash cycles to prevent blockages?
These are the standards we set for ourselves when developing new technology. We view HTM 2030 as the baseline not the target. We build infection control solutions that you can trust to protect your clinicians and your patients from the spread of infectious disease.
If you want more from your infection control solution contact our team of experts today.