The Futility of Disinfecting Floors
Today’s post is from Cathy Campbell, Director of Program Management for Tru-D SmartUVC.
You may have seen the recent study in AJIC 45(2017)336-8, Are hospital floors an underappreciated reservoir for transmission of health care-associated pathogens? In summary, it’s what all ES Professionals know – floors are contaminated, and pathogens can easily be transmitted to hands and then to the patient.
A close relative of mine spent time in the hospital recently, and I could not help but notice how easily this can happen. His television remote, his pillows and his Chap Stick; he even picked up his slippers and held onto the bottom of the slipper when he put them on! Yikes! What is concerning is that he had an open wound on his head and he kept reaching up to run his fingers through his hair.
There is already a lot of chatter about going back to detergent-disinfectants, the associated costs and inevitable sticky floors, because out of this study will emerge an urgency and yet another study with implications that detergent-disinfectants for floor cleaning should prevent health care-associated pathogens from indirectly transferring to the patient.
Even if we are diligent to mop the floor during our daily clean, which, by the way, should be a standard practice every day during a patient stay and not just at admission; AND, what if we actually increased our budgets to use a detergent-disinfectant for cleaning patient room floors, and implemented a strategy to mechanically remove spores and kill some bacteria by mopping the floor one time, maybe even two times a day? The elephant in the room is how fast the floor will become contaminated again after mopping. It is immediate upon the next person entering the room, tracking in C. diff from the patient next door, or from down the hall, or from the visiting dog!
There is not an easy remedy for floor contamination, but we do know that by improving our approach to the mechanical cleaning of surfaces and adding UVC disinfection as an adjunct to terminal cleaning, we would see reductions, so I must close my chat with this quote from the study mentioned above: Ultraviolet-C room decontamination devices have been shown to reduce floor contamination with health care-associated pathogens. Think about adding UVC to terminal discharge cleaning for reducing floor contamination rather than banging our head against the wall.