Infection Control

Infection prevention products to research

July 28, 2014
As a consultant, I am always looking for new and/or different methods to recommend to my clients to make their jobs easier and infection control protocols more effective.

By Mary Govoni, CDA, RDA, RDH, MBA

As a consultant, I am always looking for new and/or different methods to recommend to my clients to make their jobs easier and infection control protocols more effective. Recently, I have discovered some interesting products that I think are worth some consideration, and I have some recommendations on products that have been around for a while. Please keep in mind, though, that this is not an all-inclusive list of products.

One of the most interesting products is antibacterial paper from Cascades (www.cascades.com). The product is supplied in the form of paper towels -- in rolls, sheets and C-folds. The paper is saturated with benzalkonium chloride, a common antimicrobial agent that is released from the paper when it comes in contact with wet hands after washing.

This concept is an excellent one to enhance hand hygiene, since there is additional antimicrobial activity that takes place during the hand drying, as well as the hand washing process. Cascades is dedicated to green technology and produces the paper towels from recycled fiber in a chlorine-free manufacturing process. If a practice is interested in being green and enhancing safety, this is a win-win.

Antimicrobial agents have also been incorporated into fabric for clothing used in health-care settings. One such fabric is X-STATIC, which has metallic silver bonded to the fibers and inhibits the growth of bacteria on clothing or other "soft" surfaces that may be used in health care. One such surface is blankets, which many practices provide to patients for comfort during treatment. Protective clothing with X-STATIC is available from Nurse Angels Clothing Company. Travelon makes an antimicrobial blanket that is available through Amazon and other retail stores.

For practices that use an instrument washer, such as HYDRIM or the Miele thermal washer/disinfector, the Tosi ProFormance Cleaning Verification washer test (www.hmark.com/tosi.php) is an excellent tool for monitoring the washer's effectiveness at removing blood, especially on surgical instruments.

The test uses simulated blood on a stainless steel plate, just like a stainless steel instrument that would be contaminated with blood. This device is meant to be used to enhance visual inspection of instruments after removal from the washer. Since cleaning is critical to the instrument sterilization process, this device is an important adjunct to the cleaning process.

One of my favorite infection prevention teaching tools is Glo Germ (www.glogerm.com). This product comes in a gel or oil that is applied to hands and shows up under UV light. It is applied to hands prior to washing. Hands are placed under the light to illustrate contamination. Team members then wash their hands and again place them under the light.

The areas that have been missed by hand washing are easily seen under the light. It is a great way to evaluate the effectiveness of hand-washing techniques. Glo Germ also comes in a powder that can be dusted on environmental surfaces, followed by typical cleaning/disinfecting procedures. The UV light can then be passed over the surface, and will show any areas that were missed during cleaning.

There are so many products on the market that may increase your effectiveness and efficiency. Some may work for your practice or facility and some may not. It's up to you to research, evaluate, and decide.

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More by Mary Govoni, CDA, RDA, RDH, MBA:

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Mary Govoni, CDA, RDA, RDH, MBA, is the owner of Mary Govoni & Associates, a consulting company based in Michigan. She is a member of the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention. She can be contacted at [email protected] or www.marygovoni.com.

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