Ringing in a New Year of Infection Control
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the ins and outs of infection control. In fact, you can be a downright dummy.
At least that’s the case now with the recent release of the second edition of Infection Control for Dummies, part of the popular series of dummies how-to guides. As part of the promotion of the book, sponsor Cintas provided a list of the top 11 trends in infection control for 2011.
So in case you’ve yet to pick up your copy, I thought I’d share.
1. Increased availability of new disinfectants. The U.S. EPA is anticipated to approve new or existing disinfectants with a kill claim for C-difficile in the next year. This will create further demand for improved disinfectant tools and technology.
2. Broader acceptance of disinfectant wipes. Non-sodium hypochlorite disinfectant wipes will gain a bigger share of the market due to convenience and efficacy against a wide spectrum of microorganisms.
3. Increased communication and education regarding emerging threats. Manufacturers will take a more active role in educating the public about threats associated with micro-resistant organisms. This will help allay fears and hysteria associated with “superbugs.”
4. Microfiber will continue to penetrate the market. Microfiber will gain a larger market share due to broader general acceptance. Outsourced microfiber programs will also generate increased attention in an effort to limit overhead costs and ensure proper laundering protocol is followed.
5. The threat of worldwide pandemics and flu-like viruses will persist. Viruses such as NDM-1 will continue to cause potential scares requiring facilities, manufacturers, and frontline healthcare personnel to stay prepared in the event of a potential outbreak.
6. New policies regarding patient curtains will emerge. Policies regarding changing cubicle or privacy curtains following isolation contact will gain momentum, forcing the development of disposable curtains or quick-change solutions that require minimal labor and/or expertise.
7. Greater attention will develop toward the disinfection practices for patient-use items. Mandates driven by the Joint Commission will generate a greater awareness for practices used to clean patient items such as wheelchairs, stretchers, IV poles, and other mobile objects. Infection preventionists and environmental service directors should be prepared for questions relating to who is responsible for cleaning these items, what is being used to clean or disinfect the surfaces, and the time allocated for cleaning to occur.
8. Increased budget cuts. New federal regulations will likely result in further budget deficits and cuts. This will have a potential impact on hospital housekeeping departments. Since 80 to 85% of a housekeeping department’s budget is spent on labor, it will be a challenge for department managers to maintain clean and sanitary facilities with less staff.
9. Renewed cooperation between all healthcare constituents. Infection preventionists, cleaning staff, patients, nursing staff, and doctors will increase coordination and efforts to reduce rates associated with hospital-acquired infections. New programs will help all healthcare personnel understand the significance of maintaining a clean and sanitary environment.
10. Increased use of cleanliness measurement tools. New innovations such as adenosine triphosphate meters and black light detection equipment will enable infection control personnel to get a better gauge of the quality of cleaning performed and provide essential benchmarking information.
11. New laundering regulations. Healthcare officials will face greater scrutiny regarding protocols used to launder patient use items and cleaning equipment, such as microfiber.