Jonathan Clapp, International senior technical manager at Microban International, looks at how antimicrobial technologies can be built into the various materials typically found in patient areas – including disposable privacy curtains, uniforms, and high-touch control panels – at the time of manufacture, complementing traditional cleaning in the fight against microbial growth and proliferation.
Healthcare environments are inevitably exposed to many different microorganisms, which can have negative repercussions for vulnerable patients, as well as causing premature deterioration and odours in frequently touched equipment. Regular cleaning and decontamination are essential to help reduce the bioburden of these microbes, but traditional disinfectants only offer limited residual activity once the surface dries, making them a ‘one-hit wonder’. In this article, we’ll take a look at how antimicrobial technologies can be built into the various materials typically found in patient areas during manufacture, complementing traditional cleaning in the fight against microbial growth and proliferation
Surface cleaning and handwashing
Programmes to control the spread of harmful microbes in healthcare facilities typically include thorough routine surface cleaning and handwashing practices, or simply using disposable equipment, but the direct patient environment is just as important for preventing the proliferation of these microorganisms. This extends right down to the furnishings, fabrics, and privacy curtains within each hospital cubicle or room. Inanimate surfaces can become soiled after contact with another contaminated surface, or from airborne sources, including nasal or respiratory droplets. Inadequate cleaning and sanitation can also allow microbes to adhere and thrive, leading to biofilm formation.
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