Home' Inclean NZ : INCLEAN NZ Aug 2017 Contents 12 INCLEANNZ August 2017
Creating a safe, hygienic environment
is critical to any healthcare facility.
Preventing infection is a major challenge.
Common disease-causing bacteria such
as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a multidrug-
resistant pathogen associated with hospital-
acquired infections (HAI), has been found to
spread up to four metres and live for up to 45
minutes in the environment.
If the cleaning process fails to kill and
remove these antibiotic-resistant microbes
effectively, the risk of contamination
Innovations in cleaning technologies,
specifcally microfbre, can support infection
control measures to mitigate common
health and safety risks that regularly put the
wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors at risk.
Effective cleaning practices in healthcare
facilities are critical to reducing HAIs. In
New Zealand, one study estimated that
approximately 10 per cent of patients
admitted to hospital acquire an infection as a
result of their hospital stay.
Recently, the NZ Medical Journal identifed
the worrying rise of carbapenemase-
producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) in New
Zealand. CPE can cause serious infections
in hospitalised patients and are resistant to
nearly all known antibiotics.
According to the NZ Medical Journal,
New Zealand hospitals have experienced an
increase in the frequency of CPE from three
cases in 2012 to 45 in 2016.
The increasing frequency of HAIs has
shifted the focus to proactively removing
bacteria to stop the spread of infection and
Facilities are looking to innovations in
cleaning technology that can reduce the risks
to their staff and patients while keeping costs
from skyrocketing. As a result, the number
of clinical administrators who advocate for
superior microfbre technologies is increasing.
The benefits of microfibre
A superior microfbre system offers an
end-to-end cleaning cycle that relies on the
effective particle-lifting capability of the
dampened cloths and mop pads, rather than
on chemicals and water alone. Microfbre
cleaning systems work by removing
microbes from the environment, reducing
the risk of cross-contamination between
surfaces and rooms.
It's important to understand that not
all microfbre products are created equal.
Developments in the feld of microfbre
have enabled the design of a split blended
composite material, found in Rubbermaid
Commercial Products HYGEN microfbre
range. HYGEN microfbre has a denier of
0.13 to 0.23, four times fner than the generic
un-split monoflament microfbre flling
the market. The use of different polymers
creates positive attraction, holding pathogens
and dirt amongst the fbre and reducing the
risk of cross contamination.
Healthcare administrators must ensure the
facility mitigates all health and safety risks for
employees, patients and visitors. On one hand,
cleaning managers need to ensure surfaces
and touch-points are cleaned rigorously and
effectively to prevent and control infection.
While on the other hand is the need to
minimise the Workplace Health and Safety
(WHS) risks for the employees who carry out
these physically demanding cleaning tasks.
Traditional healthcare cleaning methods
relied on strong, hospital-grade anti-
microbial chemicals to be effective. This
created a problem for staff, patients and
visitors who could experience potentially
hazardous chemical exposure via skin
contact and inhalation of fumes. The
minimal use of chemicals and water in a
microfbre cleaning process reduces staff and
patient exposure to hazardous chemicals and
Work-related injuries are extremely costly
for any organisation. In the healthcare
context, lifting objects is one of the most
common causes of injury.
Traditional cleaning methods -- such as
mopping foors with a mop and bucket
-- require repetitive manual handling
including lifting heavy buckets of water and
Adopting a microfbre cleaning solution
eliminates the need to lift or carry buckets,
solving another common WHS manual
handling challenge for the sector.
Freshly cleaned foors that are still wet
presents another risk of slips and falls, which
can lead to very serious injury. Microfbre
mops create faster drying times, to improve
staff, patient and visitor safety.
It's critical that an infection control strategy
considers the role of the facility's cleaning
cycle in preventing HAIs. Similarly, it's
important to minimise the risks associated
with manual handling and exposure to
harmful substances for the cleaning staff who
are responsible for maintaining a hygienic
environment for everyone.
Healthcare management can learn a great
deal from the experience of other hospitals
that have adopted a microfbre system to
address these multiple challenges.
*Alicia Fenwick is Newell Brands Senior
Manager Brand Marketing, Rubbermaid
The number of advocates
for microfibre technology
is increasing, promoting
a shift in healthcare
cleaning services towards
this cleaning system that
addresses multiple challenges and helps
make environments safer for all, writes
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