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TouchReady® Surfaces

ATP ... when clean to sight and touch is not enough.

Every high-touch surface in a healthcare facility is different but important to understand in its potential role in HAI outbreaks. Each carries an unknown risk factor for contaminating the hands, bare or gloved. These hands in turn can contaminate other surfaces, hands and even enter the food served to these immune-compromized residents and patients. Grouping these touches, with the HACCP principle in mind, is a good first step - prioritizing those touches that must trigger a hand cleaning event and a specific regimen.

 

LTC and Acute Care Foodservice serve up unique challenges. Process control is on average very good for the temperature and time factors but poor regarding handwash quality and frequency. Adding to the control issue for foodservice are language skills, culture and the fact that the residents and patients are invited into the dining space which often reaches back to their residence/patient room where so many HAI pathogens thrive. Soiled, contaminated dishes are a pathway back to the kicthen and potentially on to the next meals.

Looking at the number of people affected and the costs associated with just Norovirus outbreaks, should some healthcare surfaces be monitored more closely? Should operators perhaps use ATP technology to both assign numbers to the acceptable cleanliness levels and train the cleaning staff by demonstrating and documenting what clean is - beyond sight and touch. The immediate feedback of an ATP luminometer is a powerful, language-free, training tool.

Set Standards for TouchReady® Surfaces

TouchReady™ Surfaces is the outcome of this system as well as its name. It starts with a risk assessment of current practices and sets a course to reach and sustain safe level standards for surfaces prioritized by their risk potential.

Operations, both large and small, are encouraged to start in the same way - gathering multi-department input and support by setting up a trial and tailoring a solution that fits the individual operational culture.

Training for TouchReady® Surfaces

Education and motivation are again key components in training staff on keeping those surfaces TouchReady™ and avoiding unnecessary contamination. They must understand the why, the when, the how and the how frequently in order to maintain the required intensity, day in and day out.

It is critically important for staff to realize that cleaning of surfaces must go well beyond clean to sight and touch. If surface cleaning is in any way trivialized, don't expect training to change problem behaviors. Visualize and personalize.

Monitoring of TouchReady® Surfaces

In caregiving, as in most endeavors, what gets measured gets done. Regular feedback motivates both staff and management. The team is, we are, meeting expectations. If not, variations from the norm are swiftly corrected and the risk of HAI outbreaks is kept very low. The business and its jobs are secure. The public's perception of quality in both the place and the people creates an image of professionalism, keeping rates of occupancy at profitable levels.

Cross Contamination

This animation is based on a research study conducted in a US hospital.

The researchers seeded the telephone in POD D with an easy to detect, inert DNA material (red dot) and then tracked it's movement over the 8 hours of a single shift. Every 2 hours 32 swabs were done in each of the patient pods and 10 swabs in each of the staff common areas. Nurses were confined to one patient POD but could move freely to the common areas. Doctors, specialists and support staff could move as required. Obviously the patients weren't mobile, they were just the victims of poor hand and surface hygiene.

What areas were most contaminated after the 8 hours?