The Most Important Tools for Sterilizing Patient Care Spaces

Sterilizing patient care spaces is an essential part of infection control and general best practices for healthcare facilities. But as with any facilities task, it is impossible to perform proper cleaning and sterilization without the right tools. From solvents and mops to new technologies like far-UV and other touchless methods, there are ever-evolving ideas on the best practices for patient care space cleaning. Following are just five of the most important tools, tangible and intangible, that every facility needs to consider in their infection control process.  

A Good Training Process

In some types of facilities, it may be enough to give cursory cleaning instructions to staff tasked with facilities maintenance; in healthcare facilities, this simply is not the case. Staff must be trained on proper sterilization techniques and more importantly, that training must be ongoing. New staff should complete thorough training while seasoned cleaning staff should have access to regular training updates.

Experienced Staff

Speaking of staff, the people who are in charge of sterilizing patient care spaces are perhaps the most important tool in a facilities manager’s arsenal. Despite advancements in sterilization technology, the people that complete the daily tasks necessary to keep your healthcare environment clean are still essential to the process. Staff should not only be well-trained and diligent, they should be constantly empowered to make improvements to the sterilization process and reminded of just how essential they are to patient care and overall facility safety.

Standard Sterilizing Chemicals and Tools

As healthcare workers should know, sometimes the most basic processes are the most effective. This is true when it comes to hand washing (still the best way to prevent the spread of disease and infection) and it is true when it comes to sterilizing patient care spaces. Each facility may have its own policies dictating which cleaning agents are detergents are to be used in patient care areas, but those policies should be regularly evaluated for efficacy. Tracking the instance of hospital-acquired infections and relating them back to cleaning procedures and materials can be an important step towards better infection control methods as well.

New Technologies When Appropriate

Although standard cleaning agents can be quite effective, there are newer technologies that can help make patient room sterilization more efficient. One such technology is certainly far-UV sterilization, which allows for a no-touch process that boasts a 99.99% kill rate for pathogens, completely destroying those pathogens in a matter of seconds. While far-UV or other UV sterilization is not necessarily appropriate for all uses, exploring new technologies is essential in maintaining a properly sterilized facility and can end up saving time and money in the long run.

Isolation Equipment

Not all patients care spaces are the same. Rooms that are designed to house patients with highly communicable diseases or those that have compromised immune systems must be properly isolated. By using the correct isolation equipment, including negative air machines, hospital anterooms, and proper ventilation, staff are better able to keep these spaces sterilized.

Sterilizing patient care spaces is one of the most important pieces of the infection control puzzle and it is essential that cleaning staff and facilities managers emphasize its importance. WIth the use of the right strategies and tools, every facility can have a chance at reducing the incidence of HAIs and creating better patient outcomes.  

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