4 FM quick reads on Hygiene
1. Creating Healthy Plumbing Systems
Typical plumbing concerns for all facilities include repairing toilet, sink and shower; maintaining piping systems throughout the facility for air, water, and gas; keeping drain systems and waste-water lines open and operating properly; and maintaining sprinkler systems, heads, valves, and other fire-safety equipment. Keeping up with new regulatory requirements, such as updates to the Americans with Disabilities Act is also a concern.
Health care and non-health care facilities alike must address measures to conserve water. From both environmental and economic perspectives, it makes good sense to keep an eye on water consumption. An up-to-date and efficient plumbing system can help make conservation a reality.
On the other hand, it is well known that the sanitary requirements for hospital environments are much more demanding than those of most non-hospital environments. What is not as well known is that some hospital bacteria strains tend to be more resistant in both level and spectra to antibiotics and bacteriostatic and bactericidal concentrations of antiseptics and disinfectants.
Tests revealed in one instance that a hospital bacterial strain had a marked resistance to 3-5 drugs, while a form of the same bacteria found in non-hospital environments was resistant to only one or two drugs. In such cases, hospitals are challenged to specify and effectively use a range of more concentrated organic and non-organic cleaning chemicals, antiseptics and disinfectants than non-hospital environments, and they must use them more often.
3. Housekeeping Practices Important to Improved Hygiene
Managers can pay closer attention to housekeeping practices in their efforts to improve a facility's restroom hygiene. Trained custodians should use the standard methods to clean all restroom fixtures and surfaces. Three factors determine cleaning success: the cleaner used, the amount, and the application method. Manual cleaning methods leave germ-laden mops and brushes, while using a low-pressure power-spray washer and vacuum tends to leave surfaces cleaner and drier.
By testing restroom air and surfaces for contamination, managers can be proactive in their efforts to monitor and improve restroom hygiene, and they can use the results to fine-tune cleaning methods. Testing consists of collecting samples from the air, fixtures and surfaces with swabs and having the samples tested by a laboratory or using a hygiene meter for in-house testing.
A swab hygiene tester is a ready-to-use dilution-and-delivery device. The swab is contained in a tube with a reagent in the handle. After swabbing a surface, the tester places the swab in the tube and injects a reagent from the handle into the tube and mixes for five seconds. The mixture then is ready for testing.
Managers also can consider using a luminometer — an electronic hygiene monitor — to measure adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a universal energy molecule found in all animal, plant, bacterial, yeast, and mold cells. The luminometer is a 3- by 7- by 1-1/2-inch, handheld, battery-operated device that can track 100 programmable locations and store 500 tests. One set of batteries is good for 3,000 or more tests. When the instrument's reagent contacts a sample, the sample emits light. The amount of light emitted is directly proportional to the amount of ATP present in the sample.
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