How to Lower Risk of Infection and Continuously Protect Patients

MEDICA is the world’s largest medical equipment trade fair, held annually in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Copper Alliance presented an ‘Antimicrobial Copper Hospital’: a stand showcasing touch surface products that harness the antimicrobial properties of copper and its alloys to enhance infection control.

Reduce transfer of bacteria with Antimicrobial Copper that lowers the burden continuously deactivating bacteria. Anything made out of stainless steel, Midbrook Medical can manufacturer out of copper:

– IV Poles
– Case Carts
– Chair Arms
– Push Plates
– Door Handles
– Over Bed Tables
– Electrical Light Switch Plates

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by | 01/27/2014 · 12:09 pm

Antibacterial Wipes Are Just Spreading Germs

Cardiff University in Wales did a study that showed hospitals that routinely use antibacterial wipes to disinfect are actually spreading germs instead of killing them. The research targeted three types of wipes and their effects on killing MRSA. All three of which were found to transfer high amounts of bacteria to a high amount of other surfaces. Once a staff member wipes one surface, they typically use that same wipe to wipe down other items as well. First the handrail, then the table, then who knows what else. The wipes were picking up the bacteria but they weren’t killing the bacteria, therefore essentially transferring the bacteria to its next point of contact. Disinfecting wipes aren’t only used in hospitals but also in schools, gyms, stores and in most homes, amplifying this already serious issue. nm_wipe2_080603_mv

We can’t reasonably expect a staff member to use and discard of one wipe for every small surface they clean. So what is a hospital to do?

Many facilities are adopting the use of Antimicrobial Copper  to address this problem.  The EPA registered material is effective against major super bugs like E.coli, MRSA, Staph, VRE and many more. Virtually any surface can be transformed to copper and kill greater than 99.9% of bacteria within two hours.  Antimicrobial Copper can be a tremendous addition to any infection control program saving hospitals both time and money.

Another option to combat the spread of infection is the UV Flash, 60 Second Infection Prevention Station which uses ultraviolet germicidal light to kill over 300 different germs. The station is often placed in waiting rooms, nurses stations, ICUs and other medical environments to disinfect a multitude of germ ridden objects like stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, and cell phones.

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When is a Good Time to Update Your Infection Prevention Policies?

When do you think about updating your infection prevention policies the most? When your hospital is in the midst of a super bug outbreak. Even though that shouldn’t be when you think about updating your policies.

Its like when you’re gas tank is on empty. That’s probably when you’re most likely to think about the cost of gas, do you have enough money with you? Or maybe you play out the scenario of what would happen if you ran out of gas on the side of the road. You probably also check to see if you’re cell phone is charged up in case you need to call a tow truck. There are all sorts of scenarios you need to keep in mind for if you run out of gas in your vehicle, however most people don’t until they absolutely need to. It’s a lot like infections in hospitals.

In Illinois, hospitals are learning to take preventative steps to keep patients safe. The outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) sparked an investigation which affected dozens of patients. They found in most cases the outbreak was linked to the use of dirty endoscopes.

The hospital changed its sterilization procedures after the investigation to not only meet, but exceed manufacturer’s recommendations. They found that the endoscopes were particularly difficult to clean and they could no longer continue cleaning the instruments the same way they were accustomed to.

This type of bacteria has the ability to kill up to half of the people who get serious infections. Those are some staggering statistics and this hospital realized something had to change.

The difficulty this hospital experienced with cleaning endoscopes, is what every hospital in the United States is likely experiencing. They may not realize it yet or they may not want to admit it. Yet the we all know surgical instruments aren’t the same as they were even 5 years ago. We now have the capability of doing some amazing, minimally invasive surgeries today but this also means our cleaning and sterilization methods need to evolve along with those advancements.

Here is an example of what some hospitals and surgery centers are using to target the issue of dirty endoscopes and narrow lumened instruments. This solution not only meets AAMI standards, it blows them out of the water.

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How to Deal With Pathogenic Microorganisms on Stethoscopes?

“Stethoscopes can take part in the transmission of health care-associated infections. We cultured 112 stethoscopes by direct imprint on blood agar to estimate the prevalence of potentially pathogenic microorganisms. Forty-eight (47%) produced 50 potentially pathogenic microorganisms; from these, 43 (86%) were Staphylococcus aureus, of which 18 (42%) were methicillin-resistant S. aureus. We concluded that stethoscopes should be considered as potential fomites and must be disinfected routinely before and after each patient contact.”

The above quote was taken from a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control on October 31, 2013, reminding us of all of the ways germs can be transmitted within the hospital. Just like a physician’s neck tie, lab coat, and blood pressure cuff, we know there are many common items in healthcare facilities that are capable of easily transmitting harmful bacteria. Instead of trying to wipe each item down with a disinfectant cloth, we have a better recommendation. By placing your stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, cell phone, keys, thermometer, pens, etc., into this mobile uv light station for 60 seconds, you can protect yourself and those around you from over 300 dangerous germs. UV Flash disinfecting system has shown a 100% kill rate on C. difficile, staphylococcus aureus, and acinetobacter baumanni in just 60 seconds.

This simple and effective disinfection solution saves healthcare workers from dealing with messy chemicals or spending too much time on disinfection. Just place the items inside, shut the door, and press start. The UV Flash is recommended for waiting rooms, clinics, lobbies, medical offices, nursing stations, ICU’s and more. See the proof.

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How Closely Are Infection Rates Linked To Handling of Surgical Instruments?


Interior of a Yankauer suction tip cut open length-wise demonstrating evidence of the cleaning challenge presented.

Many don’t realize just how big of a problem dirty surgical instruments can be. When organic debris remains in or on a surgical device, it can be a huge threat to patient safety. The industry holds established standards for reprocessing a wide variety of surgical instruments, requiring rinsing, soaking in enzymatic solution, hand brushing and washing in an automated reprocessor. However results can vary due to the variety of devices involved, variations in shape, size and composition, and types of  contaminants the devices are exposed to.

AORN published a study last year called Uphill Grime, written by Jahan Azizi who worked with Midbrook through this study. In the study, Azizi tested reprocessing methods of suction tips; available in a wide variety of shapes, angles, and sizes, and are exposed to all types of fluids, tissues, pathogens, and other contaminants. In the initial investigation, they followed the manufacturers’ instructions for use which included manual rinsing and brushing, soaking visibly soiled devices in enzymatic solution for 30 minutes. Then suction tips were placed in an automatic reprocessor and performed quality checks according to the IFU. A fiber-optic camera determined many suction tips still contained debris even after the IFU was completed. The insight found from the testing showed:

– Brushes used for cleaning must be available in a variety of sizes to fit the various sizes and shapes of the suction tips

– Many brushes were too soft to tackle the debris

– After suction tips were cleaned a few times, the debris became packed into the insides of the tips making it more difficult to scrub

– After each soaking and ultrasonic process, an unwanted brownish fluid was coming from the ends of the suction tips

– Suction tips should be process separately from other items due to more time required for cleaning

The results of the study indicated that the increasing sophistication of medical instruments has resulted in instruments that may be impossible to clean with current technology. A more fully automated method would ensure consistent and repeatable results.

By using the Midbrook Tempest, the process brings high-powered, industrial-grade cleaning with repeatable results to your Central Processing Department. Lumened instruments are flushed with enzymatic cleaner 3 times during the wash cycle to achieve optimal cleaning results that cannot be achieved by manual cleaning. The Tempest can clean up to 48 lumened instruments in 30 minutes which is much less time-consuming than manual washing.

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The Next Time A Friend Is Sick, Don’t Send Flowers. Send Yogurt.

ImageIn Meadowbrook, PA., at Holy Redeemer Hospital, they are trying something new. An innovative idea aimed to cut down on infection rates that also fits beautifuly into their budget. It all came about when they started to see a spike in hospital infection rates. They attempted to battle the bug with the usual approaches like patient isolation and increasing their use of bleach, but to no avail. That’s when they started taking a few  notes from Jamie Lee Curtis. Remember those Activia commercials promoting the benefits of probiotics?  Holy Redeemer must have, because they decided to make use of the small organisms that help maintain the natural balance of bacteria in the intestines.

Probiotics are said to help treat a number of conditions, including irritable bowel sydrome, tooth decay and chronic fatigue syndrome. Now, Holy Redeemer and other hospitals are using probiotics as a preventive measure for patients on antibiotics. While antibiotics are good at fighting the bad bugs, they also kill the good ones and that can lead to C. diff infections. Patients with orders for antibiotics were recommended to take two six-ounce portions of yogurt daily. The number of C. diff cases fell from 75 infections in 2011 to 23 infections in 2012.

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10 Ways To Protect Patients From Infections

The safer your patients are, the safer you are too. If you can get healthcare workers to follow these basic steps you can have a tremendous impact on infection throughout your facility. Forward this list to your coworkers today and start making infection prevention a top priority.

  1. Make patient identification a priority: right drug, right time, right dose.
  2. Keep the patient’s room and equipment clean.
  3. Know when antibiotics are appropriate . . . and when they are NOT.
  4. What you wear matters! Make sure your attire does not become a source of infection.
  5. Know about the infection preventionist.

OSF Saint Francis Medical Center produced this light hearted video highlighting just how easily germs can spread within the hospital. Informing employees on how you expect them to handle routine procedures can be a cost saving and life saving policy. Some procedures may seem obvious to most but studies have shown that it doesn’t necessarily mean they are followed as one would expect.

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