Nearly 2 million patients suffer from Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) in the United States. It is also estimated that the overall direct cost of HAIs borne by healthcare facilities can be as high as $45 billion.
There is mounting evidence that environmental contamination in healthcare facilities plays a crucial role in increasing HAIs. Healthcare environments are often fraught with pathogenic bacteria, including multi-drug resistant organisms that can be very difficult to treat.
Medical carts are one of the most used medical equipment in a healthcare facility. Consequently, these carts can be a source of infections if proper precautions are not exercised during their use and cleaning.
Simply cleaning your medical cart is not enough; it needs to be disinfected as well. While medical carts are considered non-critical equipment, they can still contribute to the spread of infections.
Before looking at some tips to clean and maintain your medical cart, it is important to understand the difference between cleaning, and disinfecting.
What is cleaning?
Cleaning a surface, including a medical cart, refers to removing the dirt, grime, and other foreign material from the surface. Cleaning is the first prerequisite step before the surfaces can be disinfected and sterilized.
What is disinfecting?
Disinfecting your medical cart involves using an FDA and EPA-approved disinfecting spray containing an antimicrobial chemical. It is also important to allow sufficient ‘dwell time’ between 30-60 seconds for the disinfecting solution to work before it is wiped off.
To properly clean and disinfect medical carts, certain precautions must be taken. Here are a few tips that can help your medical facility to reduce the spread of infections.
Pick the right medical carts.
One of the most important things to prevent the spread of HAIs is picking the right medical carts. Some of the features of medical carts that you should look into including the following-
- Medical carts should be made from antimicrobial material that does not support the growth of microbes on their surfaces.
- The drawer inserts should be removable.
TouchPoint’s proCARE™ Medical Carts are a great option if you look for medical and procedure carts for your healthcare facility.
Maintain a good hand hygiene
It is important for anyone using the medical carts to have good hand hygiene. As various cart surfaces are constantly being touched, the staff using these carts must sanitize their hands frequently.
Assign cleaning duties
It is important to perform cleaning and disinfection every time the cart has the potential of getting contaminated. The best thing to ensure that disinfection happens regularly is by assigning the cleaning duties to a user.
Keep off the cutter
Medical carts can get pretty messy if users are not careful. It is important to ensure that the clutter is kept to a minimum to avoid infections. If the medical carts are clutter-free, the bacteria and other pathogens have less surface to stick around.
Educate the staff about best practices
The users must understand the importance of cleaning and disinfection. Many facilities also implement mechanisms or programs to monitor that the disinfection protocols are properly followed.
It does not take the bacteria and other pathogens long to contaminate medical carts. Hence it is important to clean, disinfect and sterilize the carts frequently to reduce the chances of HAIs.
As a general rule, you should clean your medical carts whenever-
- Any part or surface is visibly soiled.
- If the cart had the potential to be contaminated due to spillage or another source
- Whenever the cart leaves a designated isolation room
It is equally important to mention that medical carts and workstations should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before and after each shift.
It is critical for a healthcare facility to maintain an environment with a low pathogenic burden to avoid HAIs. As medical carts are an integral part of your healthcare facility, special care must be given to the cleaning and disinfection this equipment.
TouchPoint Medical provides a range of proCARE™ medical carts for all highly customizable purposes, made of antimicrobial material safe to use in any healthcare setting. Contact us today to discuss your equipment needs and a free demo.