Broadening the scope of your UVC disinfection program
Recently, Alice Brewer, MPH, CIC, CPHQ, FAPIC, director of clinical affairs for Tru-D SmartUVC, shared insights on broadening the scope of your UVC disinfection program. If you missed the presentation, you can watch it here, or continue reading for a recap.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many hospitals and health care facilities invested in UVC disinfection technology specifically for pandemic-related solutions such as disinfection of N95 masks. While we are not out of the pandemic, the risk of overwhelming the health care system and shortage of PPE has been greatly reduced. Hospitals who acquired UVC devices during the pandemic may now be wondering how best to utilize them to help stop the spread of other pathogens.
Enhanced disinfection was originally targeted towards multidrug-resistant organisms such as C. diff, MRSA, and VRE and terminal cleaning of rooms occupied by patients with these infections.
There are numerous studies conducted over the past few years that prove that UVC is an effective tool against these pathogens. The only randomized controlled trial on UVC, the BETR-D study, found that using UVC on just these isolation rooms lowered overall incidence of C. diff and VRE throughout the entire facility. The BETR-D researchers also found that utilizing UVC on these isolation discharge rooms significantly reduced the amount of contamination on surfaces and led to reduced rates of colonization and infection.
However, it is important to also look at other spaces that could harbor dangerous pathogens, particularly if you find yourself with fewer isolation discharges than in the past year:
- Surgical spaces: In the surgical space, risks exist from environmental contamination, and the degree of risk depends on whether contamination exceeds the threshold for transmission as well as whether cleaning practices decontaminate below this threshold. Studies have shown that the amount of bacteria in the surgical space is one of the most important factors in development of surgical site infections. And the Association of Operating Room Nurses recommends evaluating enhanced disinfection technology, including UVC, for use in the OR space.
- Bathrooms. Bathrooms are well known sources of pathogens and transmission risk – shouldn’t they be getting an extra layer of cleaning as well? Particularly in a time when C. diff burden in the community continues to be high.
- Waiting areas and emergency departments. These are high-traffic areas and extra cleaning in these spaces can help keep visitors and ambulatory patients free of harmful germs. Nearly half of admissions come through the ED, and a significant number of those patients already have a multidrug-resistant infection – adding UVC to the cleaning protocols of these spaces can decrease the risk of passing those pathogens on to future patients.
- Staff areas. We saw during the COVID-19 pandemic that break rooms present a risk for disease transmission. Utilizing UVC in these areas not only keeps them free of dangerous pathogens, it also demonstrates to staff that you are committed to keeping them safe and healthy.
- Other areas. Think about other areas of your facility that might benefit from added disinfection with UVC. Pharmacy spaces, sterile processing and storage areas are all spaces where UVC can be utilized. Also, consider using UVC to disinfect point-of-care devices or items such as wheelchairs and IV poles.
Do you have questions on how to expand your UVC program? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Tru-D device’s technology, click here.