Toronto East General Hospital striving to combat hospital acquired infections

TEGH introduces Clorox® Bleach-Based Wipes as their primary cleaning agent, and investigates UV light technology

An innovator in Ontario healthcare, Toronto East General Hospital (TEGH) is dedicated to developing effective health and safety procedures.  Currently TEGH is at the forefront of implementing leading practices to combat rising cases of hospital acquired Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) by introducing Clorox® Healthcare Bleach-Based Wipes to clean and disinfect the hospital environment and equipment. As part of the same initiative, TEGH is also conducting an ultraviolet (UV) light trial to determine best practices in a hospital setting.

In an effort to reduce the number of health care associated infections (HAIs), TEGH began a patient safety initiative in 2012 to bring a Sodium Hypochlorite product into the hospital. Recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada for daily disinfection, Sodium Hypochlorite disinfectants contribute to successful management of common HAIs including Norovirus, VRE and C. difficile. Clorox® Wipes are effective against 51 pathogens and can kill C. difficile spores in three minutes.

Cleaning products typically used in hospitals have been found to have a negative effect on equipment; corroding materials over time. Clorox® products have an anticorrosive agent that helps to ensure common hospital surfaces like plastic, stainless steel, porcelain and glass are not destroyed, giving them a longer life. Reduction in replacement costs over time free hospital resources to be directed towards valuable programs and services.

“The cost to the hospital for a single patient contracting hospital acquired C. difficile is staggering; costs include medications, care provided, supplies, and room cleaning,” says Amanda Stagg, Infection Control Specialist at Toronto East General Hospital. “By shifting from a reactive to a proactive system we have created fewer opportunities for these bacteria to remain in the hospital, which helps to reduce strain on hospital resources.”

Since introducing Clorox® Wipes, TEGH has reported a drop in cases of hospital acquired C. difficile and in November of 2012, TEGH proudly reported zero cases in their facility. With increasing incidences of C. difficile in the community and other health care facilities, this marks an important moment in Canadian health care and a great success for TEGH.

Using a two-phased plan, Clorox® Wipes were introduced into the hospital over a period of sixteen months. Strategic deployment through Environmental Services, education and flexibility were key factors in the success of the first stage.

In the second stage, Clorox® Wipes were launched into care areas for equipment cleaning; using the familiarity developed during the initial phase coupled with continued education. As of summer 2013, Clorox® Wipes are used in all areas of the hospital, making TEGH one of very few hospitals to be using bleach-based products hospital-wide.

Throughout the process TEGH provided learning materials, education sessions, information pamphlets and videos to all physicians, staff and volunteers to educate all on the benefits of using this product. The hospital accommodated individual concerns, and while this process presented with some challenges, the end result was seen as positive.

To further reduce HAIs, TEGH is conducting a trial on UV light as an extra layer of disinfecting. The light, which takes approximately 15 minutes per room, kills 99.9 per cent of bacteria.  Placed in the center of the room, UV light is cast onto walls, hard to reach places and surfaces that cannot be traditionally disinfected, providing a broader clean.

Looking to the future, TEGH hopes to combine Clorox® Wipes and UV light to proactively disinfect all areas of the Hospital, helping to drastically reduce health care associated infections and continuing their commitment to excellent and safe care for their patients.