Research has shown that surfaces in the healthcare environment are active in transmitting infection. An estimated 20 to 40% of HAIs have been attributed to cross-contamination by the hands of healthcare personnel contaminated from contact with patients or contaminated environmental surfaces. Surfaces are a combination of soft, hard, porous and nonporous materials and textiles, requiring different infection control practices. How surfaces are constructed is critical to understand because seams, connection points and the overlaying of multiple materials can support or inhibit effective disinfection processes. No amount of disinfect will effectively remove microbes if the surface simply isn’t cleanable. The majority of surfaces within our healthcare facilities are difficult, if not impossible, to clean. The solution is multimodal and includes concerted focus on the following areas:
- Surface characteristics
- How surfaces are constructed and connected to other surfaces
- Human behavior working with and around surfaces during the patient care process
- Location of surfaces
- Cleaning and disinfection products and protocol
Whether evaluating existing surfaces prior to a renovation project or new materials for a new construction project, the evaluation process is very similar. Surface types and materials must be evaluated to gain a clear understanding of the issues. We work with you in a phased approach.
Phase I – Fact Finding
Phase II – Written Report
This evaluation process involves participation from Infection Control, Facilities Management and Environmental Services. The final report is presented in person at the healthcare facility.
Taking the findings from the Surface Evaluation service, a customized report is developed providing options that address the issues identified. Healthcare Surface Consulting works closely with the Healthcare Facilities team, contractors, surfacing manufacturers and disinfection companies to optimize the space for effective infection prevention.
New construction surface evaluation is slightly different from an existing surface evaluation. New space is designed using surfaces (soft and hard) that have characteristics that support continuous cleaning and disinfection protocol. Soft and hard surfaces create a unique environment. During the evaluation process we focus on specific areas, such as within three feet of the patient, where bioburden is particularly heavy due to patient shedding. Cross contamination can easily occur if not cleaned often and effectively. An effective combination of soft and hard surfaces, conducive to effective cleaning and disinfection protocol, along with consistent hand hygiene significantly reduces the potential for cross contamination.