Home Hospital Hygeine

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An online poll run by Jigsaw cleaning Solutions has revealed that the majority of respondents believe sustainable technology is the key to cleaner hospitals.

Industry news portal, cleanleanhealthcare.org, posed the question to readers: How important is sustainable technology which offers benefits such as water reduction?

Over three-quarters (78 per cent) of the respondents that took part in the poll voted sustainable technology as being ‘very important‘, with only nine per cent stating it as ‘not important‘. The remaining 13 per cent answered that they ‘don’t think it matters‘.

Brian Boll

Brian Boll, operations director at Jigsaw Cleaning Systems, said:

“New, sustainable technology really is the key to continuing to drive innovation in the healthcare cleaning sector.

“Hospitals are demanding better results and greener technology every year and it’s only through innovation that the industry can hope to keep up.

“The results speak for themselves. We are consistently told by customers that they are seeing better results hand-in-hand with benefits including water reduction.”

In order to critically review the management of norovirus outbreaks, Hygiena International ATP test systems (involving a hand-held SystemSURE luminometer and UltraSnap swabs) has been used to evaluate the effectiveness of cleaning procedures, following two norovirus outbreaks on a cruise ship.

Norovirus is the most prevalent cause of infectious gastroenteritis in the UK, and the ATP bioluminescence technique has been used for many years to identify potential sources of contamination in the food chain, in production and preparation areas as well as many other industrial and commercial applications such as restaurants and hotels. It has also been utilised more recently to monitor surface cleanliness, and used in conjunction with varying infection control measures to monitor many other areas of potential infection. These include confined environments as found in care homes and hospitals, where secondary or subsequent outbreaks often re-occur even after initial cleaning and sanitation procedures have been undertaken. Other potential areas of application include schools, or wherever food is prepared or consumed by the general public.

Any cleaning procedure is designed to remove residues of food and body fluids such that the subsequent application of disinfectants can function correctly and inactivate residual microbial contamination. Foods and body fluids contain large amounts of ATP such that residues of ATP remaining on surfaces after cleaning provide a direct, objective measure of the efficacy of the cleaning process and residual contamination risk.

The Hygiena UltraSnap swabs contain a reagent known as luciferase/luciferin in the bulb of the swab. Once the swab is snapped and the bulb squeezed, an oxidation reaction takes place with any ATP present, emitting light. The light produced is directly proportional to the amount of ATP in the area tested. This is a rapid method showing a strong correlation between ATP and microbial cells, with results measured in relative light units (RLU) that can be obtained within 15 seconds.


For products that kill 99.99% of bacteria and are ideal for hospitals and washrooms to combat against diseases view the range of Clover Chemicals here

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Food hygiene at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital has been given an “unacceptable” one-star rating.

The Food Standards Agency gave Carillion, the company contracted to provide the meals, low marks for the way it stored food and recorded temperatures at the hospital. The Department of Health said “urgent action” was needed. Carillion general manager Graeme McLelland said improvements had already been made.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said of the rating: “This is not acceptable – patients have the right to expect food that has been prepared safely, in a clean environment. “We expect the trust to work together with the local authority and take urgent action to address these serious failings in standards.”

‘Hoping for three stars’

Mr McLelland said: “To look at this in perspective, the environmental health officer didn’t highlight there were any concerns that were putting patients at any immediate risk. “Clearly there were some things we need to sort out. As part of our ongoing programme, over 100 members of staff went through retraining to ensure all of our people understand the importance of safety.” Julia Marshman, senior nurse for care quality and patient experience at the hospital, said: “We are not going to achieve five stars next time and I think it’s important for the public to understand that. “We are absolutely hoping for three stars.”  A statement from Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it had good quality, modern facilities which were designed to meet the very highest standards of food hygiene, and “we will not accept anything less”. The trust said it was working with Carillion and The Hospital Company (its private finance initiative provider) to ensure improvements were maintained.

keyboard germs

We tend to fret about the germs that are lying in wait on our toilet seats, but truth be told families are at a greater risk to a lot of other household items that are generally considered sanitary. The reason being is that most people scrub down their toilets any chance they get because we have become so obsessed with keeping that part of our house especially germ-free. On the other hand, items that we use every day such as keyboards, video game controllers, and cell phones rarely get the cleaning attention they deserve. Let’s take a look at some seemingly “clean” household items that are actually home to more germs than your toilet seat:

1. Sponge

It would only make sense that the thing we use to clean the germs off of other household items would be a major carrier of bacteria. Many experts consider sponges to be the No. 1 source of germs in the entire house. The average sponge can carry upward of 10 million bacteria per square inch, around a quarter of a million times more than your average toilet seat. This major kitchen hygiene problem is exacerbated by the fact that most people will wait weeks before switching out their sponge. When’s the last time you switched up your sponge? If you do find yourself having to use a sponge that you fear may be carrying a host of germs, throw it in the microwave to zap away some of its bacteria, but it won’t work on all.

2. Kitchen Sinks


Seven household items that are carrying more germs than your average toilet seat

While most of us consider our bathrooms to be the area of our house hiding the most germs, it’s actually our kitchens we should be worrying about. Similar to sponges, kitchen sinks are home to more germs than any other area of a bathroom, including the toilet seat. Results of the 2011 NSF International Household Germ Studyrevealed that 45 percent of kitchen sinks are home to Coliform bacteria, includingSalmonella and E.coli. This family of bacteria was also found on 32 percent of kitchen counter tops and 18 percent of cutting boards.

3. Video Game/TV Controlers

Combine teenagers who forget to wash their hands every once in a while with the fact that the majority of their time will be spent either playing video games or watching TV, and you have a recipe for disaster. Researchers from UNICEF and Unilever combined efforts to compare the cleanliness of an average household’s TV remote and video game controler against a toilet seat. While TV remotes carried an average of 1,600 bacteria per 100 square centimeters and video game controlers 7,863 per 100 square centimeters, toilet seats are home to an average of 1,600 bacteria per 100 square centimeters.

4. Bottom of a Woman’s Purse

Women have no problem putting their handbags on the floors of public transportation, bathrooms, or other germ laden surfaces, but would you want to touch those areas with your bare hands? Although they may not realize it, women transport a great deal of germs and bacteria onto kitchen tables and countertops via their purses. Researchers from one of the UK’s leading hygiene and washroom services companies, Initial Washroom Hygiene, conducted a swab analysis revealing that one out of every five handbags was carrying dangerously high levels of bacteria-related contamination. Due to cross-contamination risks, many of the items found in a handbag such as face or hand cream, lipstick, and mascara were also home to germs and bacteria.

“Handbags come into regular contact with our hands and a variety of surfaces, so the risk of transferring different germs onto them is very high, especially as bags are rarely cleaned,” Peter Barratt, Technical Manager at Initial Hygiene, said in astatement. “Once these germs are on the bags, they can easily be transferred via hands onto other surfaces. Regular hand sanitization is essential to prevent the presence of bacteria in the first place and thorough cleaning of bags is recommended to prevent the buildup of contamination.”

5. Smartphones/Tablets

We use them all day every day, but how often do we put in the time to clean our smartphones and tablets? While we always remember to wash our hands before or after going to the bathroom, we usually neglect washing our hands before touching our smartphone or tablet.  Microbiologists working with Which? took swabs from 30 tablets and 30 phones and tested them for disease-carrying bacteria such as E.coli. One tablet was carrying 600 units per swab of Staphylococcus aureus, also known as staph. While a single smartphone was found to carry 140 units per swab of staph, the average toilet only contained 20 units per swab or less. To put those numbers into perspective, the Health Protection Agency considers anywhere between 20 and 10,000 units of staph to be a potential risk for disease.

“A count of 600 on a plastic device of any sort is incredibly high,” James Francis, the microbiologist who carried out our testing, said in a statement. “In the food industry, if we found those levels of bacteria from a hand swab of a food handler, they’d have to be taken out of the workplace and retrained in basic hygiene.”

6. Keyboards

Even on your family’s personal computer, keyboards can become a breeding ground for all types of bacteria. Due to all of its cracks and spaces, thoroughly cleaning a keyboard can prove difficult even with a can of compressed air. When Francis and his colleagues performed the same swab test on keyboards, they found an average 480 units per swab of staph hiding in the most commonly used area of our desks. Remember to clean your personal keyboard at least once a month by powering down your computer, lifting the keyboard upside down to shake out any particles, and using a can of compressed air on every crack and space between keys. It may seem like an arduous task, but it’s worth it to avoid a bacterial infection.

7. Showerheads

It’s tasked with cleaning our bodies, so how unsanitary can a showerhead actually be? Thanks to that warm moisture left behind after a shower, the inside of a showerhead can be harboring more germs than you think. A study conducted at the University of Colorado-Boulder analyzed around 50 showerheads from nine major cities, 30 percent of which contained high levels of Mycobacterium avium, a pathogen that can easily infect people with weakened immune systems and has been linked to pulmonary disease. To easily disinfect your showerhead, unscrew the device and place it a saucepan filled with boiling vinegar. Mineral deposit build-up should be easy to spot through discoloration.

“There have been some precedents for concern regarding pathogens and showerheads, but until this study we did not know just how much concern,” CU-Boulder Professor Norman Pace said in a statement. “If you are getting a face full of water when you first turn your shower on, that means you are probably getting a particularly high load of Mycobacterium avium, which may not be too healthy.”

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Sweaty hands can reduce the effectiveness of bacteria-fighting brass objects in hospitals and schools after just an hour of coming into contact with them, according to scientists at the University of Leicester. While copper found in everyday brass items such as door handles and water taps has an antimicrobial effect on bacteria and is widely used to prevent the spread of disease, Dr John Bond OBE from the University of Leicester’s Department of Chemistry has discovered that peoples’ sweat can, within an hour of contact with the brass, produce sufficient corrosion to adversely affect its use to kill a range of microorganisms, such as those which might be encountered in a hospital and which can be easily transferred by touch or by a lack of hand hygiene. 

Dr Bond said: “The antimicrobial effect of copper has been known for hundreds of years. It is thought to occur as a result of a charge exchange between copper and bacteria, which leads to a degradation of the bacteria DNA. We have discovered that the salt in sweat corrodes the metal, forming an oxide layer on its surface, which is the process of corrosion – and this corrosive layer is known to inhibit the effect of the copper. We have shown that it is possible for sweat to produce an oxide layer on the metal within an hour of contact. While it is well known that sweat corrodes brass, this is the first study to quantitatively analyse the temporal corrosion of copper alloys such as brass in the first few hours after contact between fingerprint sweat concentrations of salt and the metal.”

The research paper, entitled ‘Electrochemical behaviour of brass in chloride solution concentrations found in eccrine fingerprint sweat’, published in the journal ‘Applied Surface Science’ was co-authored by Elaine Lieu as part of a third year Interdisciplinary Science project investigating how easily and quickly sweat can corrode brass at the University of Leicester.

Dr Bond added: “Opportunities to improve hospital hygiene are being investigated by the University of Leicester from seemingly unconnected areas of research. This research is a different application of the study of fingerprint sweat corrosion of brass, applied to hygiene rather than to crime investigation. My short term advice is to keep the brass in public environments free from corrosion through regular and thorough cleaning. In the longer term, using copper alloys with corrosion inhibitors included in the alloy would be a good choice. While more research is needed in the study of sweat and brass corrosion, anywhere that needs to prevent the spread of bacteria, such as public buildings, schools and hospitals should be looking at using copper alloy on everyday items to help in avoiding the spread of disease.”


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Fewer hospital staff sanitize their hands when there’s no one looking than when they know they’re being watched.

The findings from a new British Medical Journal Quality and Safety reportconducted by a team of Ontario researchers, raises concerns about the effectiveness of hand-hygiene programs.

The study, co-authored by McMaster University assistant professor Dr. Jocelyn Srigley, used sanitizer and soap dispenser electronic sensors plus staff auditors to monitor an Ontario acute-care hospital for eight months.

They found a three-fold increase in cleansing compliance when staff could see an auditor watching them in the hall.

“What surprised us was the magnitude of the effect,” said Srigley, an associate medical director of infection prevention and control with Hamilton Health Sciences.

“Behaviour is a huge black box in the infection-control world,” she said. “Hospitals like to put out guidelines, but few look at behaviour.”

Alternative approaches, such as replacing top-down management policy with strategies that get frontline staff to develop their own solutions could help, she said.

Srigley’s next study will examine how often hospital patients wash their hands.

The report comes as another Ontario hospital study found hospitalelevator buttons are one of the filthiest surfaces in hospitals, with more germs than toilet stalls.

That Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre researchers report, published in the July issue of Open Medicine, found 61 per cent of 120 buttons tested were covered in bacteria, compared to 43 per cent of 96 toilet stall surfaces — door handles, latches and flush levers — that were tested.

Fortunately, most of the elevator bacteria identified in the three Toronto hospitals weren’t harmful.

B.C.’s current hygiene policy is set out in the Ministry of Health’s 2012 B.C.’s Best Practice Guidelines for Hand Hygiene.

The ministry requires all health authorities to meet standards in hand-washing policy, reporting, auditing, and quality assurance in all acute-care and long-term, assisted living and residential-care settings.

The health authorities must run hand-hygiene programs, meet a minimum 80 per cent compliance rate, then submit quarterly compliance reports to the Provincial Infection Control Network.

Hand-washing audits of long-term care, assisted living and residential-care facilities will become available in 2015.


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Laundry practitioners within the care sector can now access professional help and guidance on best business practice following the launch of a Good Laundry Practice Guide from Electrolux Professional.

A leader in professional laundry equipment, Electrolux Professional has published the extensive data pack to offer laundry operators working in hospitals and care homes all the things they need to guarantee efficient hygiene practice.

The pack, which is available free of charge to registered laundry practitioners, boasts a mini guide to hygienic laundry practices primarily based on the RABC system/EN 14065, a catalogue of technological solutions designed to maintain optimum hygiene, and a DVD which visually demonstrates the proper procedures in a real-life care environment.

The Good Laundry Practice Guide supports a product portfolio designed to fulfill all industry regulations and guidelines, and ensure that healthcare laundries are effectively equipped to adhere to hygiene requirements. Electrolux’s product offering ranges from the latest in barrier washer know-how, to tumble dryers and ironers geared toward optimising economy and productiveness.

To request a Good Laundry Practice Guide go to www.electrolux.co.uk/professional

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There is significant evidence to suggest that sufficient environmental decontamination is frequently lacking with less than 50% of hospital room surfaces being adequately cleaned and disinfected. Studies have proven that pathogens such as C-difficile and MRSA can survive on surfaces for many months.



GAMA Healthcare have partnered with UVDI, a trusted leader in ultraviolet disinfection to launch The Clinell UV-360 Room Sanitiser. The ultraviolet device, which is used to disinfect rooms, is currently used in over 100 hospitals in the USA.




Clinell and UVDI have developed a comprehensive two-step bundled approach to environmental cleaning and disinfection. Simply follow your regular cleaning and disinfection procedures with Clinell wipes and then supplement this with a dose of UV-C radiation to ensure complete decontamination. This provides a further layer of assurance by treating high-touch surfaces and other areas that may be difficult to clean thoroughly such as walls, light fixtures, windows and floors.




The Clinell UV-360 Room Sanitiser uses UV-C radiation to kill 99.99% of bacteria including C. difficile spores and MRSA. UV-C radiation is emitted by the sun and is normally stopped by the Earth’s ozone layer. It kills pathogens by destroying the DNA component via the absorption of short-wavelength ultraviolet radiation. This deactivates the pathogens and renders them non-pathogenic.




The Clinell UV-360 Room Sanitiser uses four 1.6m maximum output polymer-encapsulated UV lamps which are said to be seven times more powerful than competing lamps. The aluminium reflector mast has been designed for optimum UV-C energy distribution.




The device has undergone extensive testing to ensure toughness and durability and is easy to move around, weighing only 40kg. The intuitive touch screen makes set up and operation easy, quick and efficient. The entire disinfection process is said to only add minutes to terminal clean protocol as rooms do not need to be sealed and theycan be used immediately after the machine has been used.


Mitie has been awarded a new facilities management contract with Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, valued at £33million for an initial five years, with the possibility of extending this by up to two years.

The contract will see the specialist healthcare team from Mitie’s Environmental + business deliver a wide range of services to the Trust including domestic cleaning, portering and helpdesk services at Epsom Hospital and patient catering, ward hostess and retail catering services at both the Epsom and St Helier sites.

For patient catering services, Mitie will deliver in excess of 850,000 patient meals per year, as well as manage retail catering for the Trust, including two Costa Coffee outlets, a Subway store, and two restaurants. Mitie already provides a full range of facilities, property and energy services to the healthcare sector, including a number of NHS Trusts, GP surgeries, local authorities and private sector providers. 

Rob Cattell, Managing Director of Mitie’s Environmental + business, said: “This is a fantastic development for our business, and further expands our capability to deliver a full range of hospital services to a major acute Trust.

“We are looking forward to working with Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust to continually improve patients’ experiences, by upholding the Trust’s commitment to maintaining clean, safe environments for patients, residents, staff and visitors alike.”


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A MAJOR Scottish maternity hospital has been told to make a number of improvements following a visit from hygiene inspectors.

 Stained and damaged equipment was found by the Healthcare Environment Inspectorate (HEI) when it made a surprise tour of the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital, in Glasgow.

Its report, published yesterday, also raised concern that five out of 10 staff interviewed did not know how to clean up blood spillages correctly.

However, the report noted that overall the wards and neonatal units were clean and well maintained.

Susan Brimelow, chief inspector for HEI, said: “This inspection has identified several priority areas where the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital must make improvements. During inspection, we found reusable patient equipment was not clean and saw mixed compliance with national dress code policy among staff. We also found staff knowledge of how to correctly manage blood spillages was limited. However, patients spoke positively about the care and treatment they had received and staff demonstrated a good awareness of their roles and responsibilities for infection prevention and control.”

During the inspection in April, the HEI found an adult bed mattress on the labour ward with a blood stain, a stained cot mattress on the labour ward and a baby changing mat which was damaged and worn. Elaine Love, head of nursing for women and children at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “We recognise that there are areas we need to improve and we are actively working with our staff to ensure that the requirements from this inspection are fully implemented.”