How Hospital Floors are Disseminating Infections?

For every hospital, infection prevention is a critical issue. Hospital facilities are most likely to disinfect high-touch surfaces on daily basis to prevent the infectious spread. However, when the medical devices and equipment’s touch the floor, they easily transfer the disease-causing bacteria to other high-touch surfaces and hands.

In the past, floors in healthcare facilities were considered as non-critical surfaces. Non-critical surfaces are those that are not frequently touched by the hands of a patient or staff. They were assumed as low risk to no risk towards spreading healthcare-associated infection (HAIs). The non-critical surfaces are tagged as potential secondary source of pathogenic transmission. Research conducted indicates, floors paly major part in the dissemination of virulent microorganisms and should not be docketed as non-critical.

A group of Cleveland, OH-based researchers figured out that hospital floors are heavily contaminated with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), and C. difficile, which are closely linked to the transmission of Health-associated infections (HAIs).  When medical devices, such as blood pressure cuffs and pulse oximeters, are left on the floor, they transmit these virulent microorganisms to both gloved and non-gloved hands.

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America SHEA/ Infectious Diseases Society of America IDSA “Strategies to prevent Clostridium difficile infections in acute care hospitals: 2014 update”, lists floors as part HAI spread. This guideline by SHEA/IDSA recommend proper cleaning and disinfection of the environment regularly, not only in an outbreak or hyper-endemic situation. The outbreak usually occurs when rooms are not cleaned and properly disinfected in the period when patients are admitted.

According to Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, other items including over-bed tables, personal items, linens and intravenous pumps act as primary source of HAI transmission. For example, mostly patient are laid on the bed in the lowermost position for safety concern, because of which patient care items, linens, and devices such as urinary catheter bags may touch the floor. Researchers have also identified the presence of C. difficile both in isolation and non-isolation room and many of the gram-negative pathogens such as Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae CRE were also found to be proliferating in these rooms.

The Operation Theatre (OT) and Transplant Units (TUs) are critical areas where complex surgeries are performed. The outcomes of surgical interventions also depend on proper sterilization/ disinfection techniques and infection control practices. When patient is transferred after surgery from OT through stretcher to the isolation rooms/ICU, possible pathogens present on the floor can be carried throughout the hospital.

The sterilization carried out different techniques such as fumigation, fogging or use of  U.V radiation require 6-8 hours duration for proper sterilization, consuming 1/3rd of the day. For critical units consumption of this much time is extremely risky and the sterilization cannot be carried out frequently. Moreover, these disinfectants and sterilants serious health hazard if leaked out. While, improper sterilization leads to increase prevalence of HAIs and patients already admitted in intensive care units (ICUs) are at particular menace for infection risks.

Additional Contaminating Events

Other events for HAI spread or microbial contamination include: toddlers sitting and playing on the floor when visiting a patient and then later being placed on the patient’s bed. When objects like presents, bags, and purses placed on the floor and passed to a patient. Or when healthcare workers accidently drops an object on the floor and use it without disinfecting. Moreover, if that object is used in providing care to the patient, it can easily contaminate the bed area.

Floor Cleaning Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2003 “Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities” which refers floors as housekeeping surfaces and assemble it  in surface groups with minimal hand contact, thereby, floor being categorized as source for secondary infectious spread. Cleaning is recommended for floors on daily basis, however, the floor is only disinfected when soiling and spills occurs, or when the patient is discharge. Researchers wrote. “Although healthcare facility floors are often heavily contaminated, limited attention has been paid to disinfection of floors because they are not frequently touched.”

Overall CDC published statistics indicates, 20% that makes 700,000 cases of the HAIs occurring globally each year due to microbial dissemination from floor and medical devices contamination in healthcare set-ups.

The spread of infections and diseases can controlled by introducing antimicrobial technology in health-care setups. Protector® Antimicrobial Flooring is seamless and provide maximum protection against a wide range of microorganisms. The built-in Antimicrobial properties prevent the microbial build-up and kills when microorganisms comes in contact with the floor.

Protector® Antimicrobial Floorings are proven to be 99.99% effective against various microorganisms such as Bacteria, Yeast, Fungi, Mould and Viruses. This technology conforms to ISO 22196, and ASTM E 2180 for its antimicrobial performance. The use of antimicrobial flooring will reduce the prevalence of virulent organisms such as MRSA, VRE, CRE and C. difficile on the hospital floors.

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