IF YOU CAN’T CLEAN IT, DON’T BUY IT.
Improving infection prevention and control in Long Term Care facilities
Furnishings covered with woven upholstery or vinyl with unsealed seams are an infection control hazard.
IC+™ Upholstery Solution is a patent-pending breakthrough technology developed by healtHcentric™ (a division of ergoCentric®) for the healthcare industry. It provides the most durable, cleanable and impermeable medical-grade surface available. Pathogens, fluids, and bed-bugs stay out because IC+ is non-porous, seamless and forms a completely sealed moisture-free barrier that makes microbial growth virtually non-existent.
Creating a home-like environment in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities is important in order to make residents feel comfortable, because whether it’s for a long or short time, it is their home. Home-like environments often include carpeting and plush upholstered couches and chairs. On one hand these provide a sense of comfort, warmth and acoustic value. On the other hand, they can enable the spread of infectious diseases.
Often used in common areas throughout LTCs for residents, guests and staff to sit on, upholstered couches and chairs can be exposed to various spills and bodily fluids on a daily basis. Woven fabrics naturally lend themselves to create opportunities for microbial growth as well as odour issues. Instead of creating a nice place to relax, these furnishings have the potential to harbour microorganisms and even bedbugs. They are also difficult to clean and when, for example, a cloth chair becomes soaked in feces from a patient infected with C-Difficile, the item needs to be discarded.
STRIKING A BALANCE
Keith Sopha, President of the Canadian Association of Environmental Management and the Founder of CleanLearning says, “I believe, that the LTC sector needs to find a balance between a comfortable home environment and an environment that promotes infection prevention and patient safety.” This can only be achieved by introducing furnishings that are cleanable and stand up to hospital grade disinfectants.
The Provincial Infectious Advisory Committee (PIDAC) in the Best Practices for Environmental Cleaning for the Prevention and Control of Infection in all Health Care Settings states “If you can’t clean it don’t buy it.”
LTC facilities are considered healthcare settings and have a high risk of infectious diseases spreading as residents often share rooms and communal areas. Plus LTC residents generally have a higher risk of acquiring an infection because elderly are more vulnerable to illness.
PIDAC CHECK LIST
To reduce microbial contamination, when selecting furnishings for use in clinical and communal areas choose surfaces with the following characteristics:
- Cleanable with hospital grade cleaners
- Easy to maintain and repair
- Resistant to microbial growth
- Non-porous (smooth) and seamless
Sopha continued: “Furnishings using IC+ have all the characteristics Environmental Managers look for. It allows staff to effectively clean and disinfect furniture, thus assisting in infection prevention and control.”
An independent study to test the efficacy of IC+ was conducted at Antimicrobial Test Laboratories. The lab tested the effectiveness of a common isopropanol disinfecting wipe, Cavi Wipes, on a piece of seamed hospital grade vinyl and a piece of seamless IC+ to compare the reduction of microorganisms on the upholstery samples. The microorganism selected for this test was Staphylococcus aureus, known to be difficult to disinfect but vulnerable to low level disinfectants.
The samples were infected with the bacterial culture spread over 1 square inch and into the seams, where applicable. After a drying time of 45 minutes, test samples were cleaned using the wipes according to the manufacturer’s instructions, allowed to dry for 3 minutes, and were then ready for a bacterial count. The lab established that the cleaning and disinfecting wipe had a 0.4 log reduction from the healthcare grade vinyl and a 3 log reduction from IC+ Upholstery Solution. These findings reinforce the recommendation put forth by PIDAC and other reputable organizations that seams in healthcare furniture can harbor pathogens even after being cleaned and disinfected.
The use of IC+ Upholstery Solution is limitless and healtHcentric is expanding its application to other high-touch products that require extraordinary durability and cleanability. One such product is a commode with an IC+ seat cushion that is much softer than plastic seats and much more durable and cleanable than vinyl seat cushions. And because of the anti-slip nature of the product, healtHcentric is also developing IC+ for transport wheelchairs.
WHERE TO FIND IC+ UPHOLSTERY SOLUTION
IC+ is used in hospitals across Canada and the United States. Ontario hospitals and LTC facilities receiving funding from the Ontario Government are able to take advantage of the Ontario Public Services Vendor of Record Contract with ergoCentric (healtHcentric’s parent company). Product and sales representation information can be found at www.healthcentric.com.
This product feature was provided by ergoCentric.