The industry standard for hospital disinfection is changing. Previously, it was accepted that disinfecting floors was a wasted effort due to constant use and high foot traffic. The common thought that prevailed was: Why invest product and time on a surface that could quickly become infected again?
Now, there is growing awareness that dangerous superbugs can occur almost anywhere. As a result, hospitals and healthcare facilities are implementing disinfection procedures for their floors to minimize adverse effects on patients and the costs associated with harmful bacteria.
To ensure a facility is following best practices, it’s important to understand how contamination can occur and the products that can prevent it.
Most cleaning staff disinfect dispensers, railings and countertops to reduce cross-contamination. However, hospital floors become contaminated through contact with shoes and other solid objects, spills and residual airborne bacteria. As pathogens can occur anywhere, it’s important to recognize the many ways they can be transported from the floor and spread to other critical surfaces.
Wheelchairs are a prominent source of cross-contamination in hospitals and other healthcare facilities.ⁱ Ultimately, a patient’s hands will touch everything the wheels pick up as they move throughout the room, bathroom or corridor, causing the spread of potentially harmful germs or superbugs. Visitors to a facility also contribute to the spread of germs when handbags or other personal items are placed on the floor and then moved to a table or other high-touch area.
Although these are two of the most common contributors to cross-contamination, it’s important to remember that pathogens can be transferred through the air and by contact. In consequence, even though floors may not be considered a high-touch surface, it’s still a potential hotbed of bacteria if not disinfected.
There are a few core products that every facility manager should use in order to achieve optimal results.
Dusting should be the first step in any floor cleaning routine. When selecting products, cleaning staff should use tools that trap, collect and discard dirt, dust and hair as opposed to products that simply redistribute debris. 3M™ Easy Trap™ Sweep & Dust Sheets are designed to trap and hold up to eight times more dust, dirt and sand than a conventional flat fringed cotton dust mop and are double-sided to maximize efficiency.
For a disinfectant, 3M™ MBS Disinfectant Cleaner Concentrates provide an easy way for cleaning staff to quickly disinfect a surface as the product’s five-minute dwell time is perfect for high-traffic areas. It is also proven against a variety of microbes including Norovirus, MRSA, VRE, Hepatitis B & C, Acinetobacter baumannii and Influenza A Virus. In cases where C. diff may be present, 3M™ C. diff Solution Tablets are a proven and effective alternative to bleach and peracetic acid disinfectants. ⁱⁱ
For the actual act of cleaning and disinfecting floors, the Scotch-Brite™ Professional 2-in-1 Flat Mop from 3M is a versatile, comfortable and durable product solution. The mop includes ergonomic features to help with cleaning fatigue, has a chemical dispenser to easily and accurately apply cleaner and disinfectant onto the floor, and features 3M™ Easy Trap™ Disposable Floor Mop Pads. To maintain sterility in areas like surgical suites, the disposable mop pads should be changed from room to room to avoid cross-contamination.
An effective hospital floor cleaning and disinfecting program will incorporate all of these components to achieve surfaces that not only look clean but are safe for contact. For more information on how to implement an effective cleaning and disinfecting floor program, visit 3m.com/disinfection.
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