If you work in an environment such as a hospital or care home where your infection control solution is paramount for the safety of your patients, you will be aware of the many steps required to prevent the spread of infection in your facility.
Whilst patient safety is always at the centre of your infection control efforts, you should also be conscious of the necessity to keep your staff safe and prevent them from becoming vectors for infection.
Proper hand hygiene, use of gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE), safe handling of sharps, and thorough environmental cleaning are vital to reduce the risk of infection.
Another extremely important part of infection prevention and control is how you handle and dispose of human waste.
Human Waste Disposal
Many institutions across the globe still clean reusable bedpans and similar utensils by hand. This involves handling, transporting and manually cleaning the pans – making a necessary daily task unnecessarily hazardous for both staff and patients.
One slip of the arm can lead to splash back and spraying particulates into the air, which could not only demand a change of scrubs, but also potentially expose the clinician, the sluice/dirty utility/pan room and anyone working in the immediate environment to a healthcare associated infection (HCAI).
It’s also an extremely inefficient and unsafe practise, which may only serve to smear the bacteria across the surface of the pan, thereby actually increasing the infection risk.
Automated bedpan washer disinfectors present a much safer solution, where the utensils are cleaned with water heated to 80 degrees Celsius to ensure that any harmful microbes on the surface of the bedpan are killed or denatured.
Why Pulp Utensils Are the Solution
An even safer method of waste disposal is to use single use pulp bedpans and utensils which are disposed of via a pulp macerator.
The most obvious benefit of single use utensils is that there is very little chance of picking up an infection from one. Clinicians collect a new, sterile utensil from storage, it is used by the patient and then it is disposed of along with any infectious material.
This is a significant step up from using reusable bedpans which have to be handled again after disinfection – if the bedpan has not been disinfected properly then it is still a significant infection risk to clinicians and patients.
DDC Dolphin’s machines go a step further to reduce the spread of infection by using hands-free technology to open and close the macerator. This means that any possible bacteria residing on a clinician’s gloves will not be transferred to operating buttons on the machine, which in turn could be passed on to others.
In addition, the machine lid is impregnated with silver ion anti-microbial technology which prevents the growth of harmful microbes, and automatic disinfection dosing cleans the chamber of the macerator after each cycle to eliminate 99.99% of known microbes associated with major HCAIs.
There is no need for concern about lingering microbes with reusable pulp products – you simply load them into the macerator, they are macerated, and flushed away.
Protecting Your Staff
Your clinicians are much better protected when using disposable pulp and macerators.
There is a significantly reduced risk of inhaling airborne particulates. Washing bedpans by hand with a high pressure spray arm in a dirty/soiled utility sink can lead to aerosolisation of harmful microbes, causing contamination that’s extremely hard to avoid. This risk is eliminated when using a pulp macerator.
There is a risk of not fully disinfecting a reusable bedpan, which could be significantly greater if your washer disinfector is not regularly serviced, or if you wash bedpans by hand. Pulp products stop the risk of cross infection in its tracks, dispelling this fear altogether and improving overall safety in the process.
Another possible hazard associated with bedpan washers is that the utensils are extremely hot at the end of a disinfection cycle, and could cause burns when removed from the machine to dry if the clinician is not extremely careful. Pulp products present no such danger.
With the reduced risk of infections, ease of use and quick cycle times, pulp products and macerators are an obvious choice to dispose of waste in your healthcare setting.
If you’re considering installing a pulp macerator in your facility, or would like to purchase any pulp products, contact our friendly team at DDC Dolphin to talk through your options and find the best infection control solution for you.