How Can Sluice Room Servicing Prevent Outbreaks of Infection in Care Homes?
Three residents in every long-term care facility will have a healthcare-associated infection at any one time.
Antibiotics can shoulder some of the blame – while their use has remained consistent, infection rates continue to rise (doubling since 2010, in fact). Until prescription rates decrease, those receiving care will continue to be susceptible to drug-resistant bacteria.
Commonly living with weaker immune systems, the elderly find it far more difficult to fight infection than young, healthy people. Outbreaks of HCAIs in care homes are, therefore, often associated with increased risk of life-threatening illness, as well as hospital admissions and long inpatient stays.
Care home residents also have an increased susceptibility of catching an infection due to the communal nature of their living spaces; not only due to shared facilities (although this is clearly a factor), but the regular introduction of new residents who have been transferred from another home or hospital, thus bringing new and potentially drug-resistant illnesses with them.
In order to maintain a healthy environment for residents to live in, infection prevention and control is at the forefront of care home operations.
Due to the elderly being so profoundly at risk, all care homes should have a robust infection control procedure – and this will come under scrutiny during your regular CQC inspections.
A considerable part of your infection control and prevention will take place in the sluice room, as well as the activities which surround it. Taking care of the toileting and continence needs of residents, especially, will require stringent hygiene standards that are well-versed throughout your workforce.
As part of your human waste management routine, you’re likely to use a disposal method such as a macerator for your bedpans and incontinence pads – or, if you’re relying on reusable bedpans, a washer disinfector.
This kind of machinery is most likely the cornerstone of your infection control procedure and, as a result, you’ll rely on it heavily (nobody wants to revert back to washing bedpans by hand or bagging up incontinence pads to put in the bin).
For the most part, your macerators and bedpan washers will maximise clinician efficiency – they’ll be able to dispose of waste quickly and safely, so they needn’t spend the duration of their shift on auxiliary tasks. In addition, your residents will enjoy happier and healthier lives, free from the stress and pain of HCAIs – as well as benefitting from the extra time available from care staff.
However, we must remember that no machine is infallible. Lack of maintenance, as well as clinician error, can soon take its toll – resulting in machine faults which can render them unusable.
What do you do when your sluice room machinery breaks down? Do you have a crisis plan in place?
Would you honestly be able to provide the same level of protection for your residents while you wait for the machine to be repaired?
Chances are – even if you do have a plan – the breakdown of machinery will cause problems. Aside from the cost to get the machine fixed, you’ll need to contend with new infection risks associated with less efficient waste disposal – be that a bedpan pile-up, bins full to the brim, or waste making unnecessary journeys around the facility while you find a place to put it.
Before you know it, your residents are exposed to harmful infections such as C. difficile. Your clinicians will also be at risk – remember, they aren’t immune to catching these infections themselves, such as by inhaling airborne bacteria.
Secure your reputation, keep residents safe and have ultimate peace of mind with a service package for your sluice room machinery.
By having your medical pulp macerators, bedpan washer disinfectors and incontinence product macerators regularly serviced, you will:
- maximise the uptime of your machines
- prevent foreseeable performance issues
- better manage your budget and get lifetime value from your machines
- keep patients and care home residents safe from infection
By choosing a 360° Service package from DDC Dolphin, you’ll benefit from a regular, full inspection of the machine – so you can be confident that your machine is not only in good working order, but you’ll catch any emerging issues before they cause a costly breakdown.
To prevent overspending, we offer a full site survey to determine the best of our three packages to suit your needs; furthermore, if you own machines from another brand, our expert engineers can include these in the service schedule, preventing the need for multiple contractors.
In addition, validation testing to NHS periodic testing guidelines is part of the package, alongside detailed machine reporting allowing you to better forecast your CAPEX expenditure.
A 360° Service package is designed with your budget in mind, allowing you to save money on callout charges, labour, DDC Dolphin replacement parts and machine chemicals.
Keeping your residents safe is your duty. Keeping them safe from infection is our expertise.
Ready to find out more about our 360° Service packages?
Download our Guide To Sluice Room Servicing today.
 Health Protection Scotland (HPS)