According to a recent survey administered by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) which asked infection preventionists how often privacy curtains in their facilities are cleaned, 37 percent of respondents answered only when visibly soiled, 13 percent answered every month, 13 percent answered every three months and another 13 percent answered once per year.
If left unaddressed, contaminated soft surfaces can pose a risk of infection and can undermine any hard surface disinfection routines a healthcare facility may have as well as put patients, families and staff at risk.
All soft surfaces in healthcare settings have the potential to harbor microorganisms, and multiple studies have found pathogenic bacteria on privacy curtains, upholstered furniture, bed linens, and employee uniforms and lab coats. One particular study found that 92 percent of privacy curtains were contaminated with infectious bacteria within one week.
Because bacteria have been found to survive for up to three months on common fabrics used in hospitals, such as polyester and cotton, infection preventionists and environmental services teams need to start thinking about a complete approach to environmental decontamination beyond hard-surface disinfection (Kukla, 2013).
Not only is there evidence showing that pathogens can survive on soft surfaces, but there are studies supporting the link between soft surfaces and infection transmission.
These studies have found that bacteria can be transferred to upholstery and fabric cushions, and then to people. When healthcare workers touch a contaminated soft surface, their hands can carry microorganisms to other surfaces as well as directly to patients contributing to the spread of pathogens that can cause healthcare-associated infections (HIA’s). One study found that “vancomycin-enterococci (VRE), a drug-resistant bacteria, can survive on and be transmitted through patient contact with fabric upholstery in a healthcare setting. This means that a patient carrying these bacteria could contaminate a chair, for example, and a second patient could pick up the bacteria as much as one week later through direct contact with the chair’s upholstery” (MJH Life Sciences, 2000).
Another study found that “after treating hospital MRSA patients, 65 percent of nurses had uniforms contaminated with MRSA” (Reynolds, 2014). This means that every time a healthcare worker touches a soft surface, whether clothing or upholstery they could put patients and others at risk for infection.
Scott Lazarus, President of Office Furniture Group, says:
“Many of the cleaning and disinfecting solutions on the market today may work when applied properly and as prescribed by the manufacturers, but the reality is they are not being applied properly and they are not recommended for all surfaces where microbes and pathogens hide.”
Additionally, once a piece of furniture has been treated, if done in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for hard nonporous surfaces, may be disinfected but is not protected to eliminate new / incoming pathogens (Lazarus, 2019).
Normal cleaning procedures using chemicals such as bleach agents not only damage the integrity of the surface long-term, but fail to keep the surfaces protected for more than a few minutes at a time. “Many products that are being used on upholstered furniture, if used at all, are destroying the fabrics and causing furniture to be taken out of service and replaced. Cleaning and disinfecting solutions being applied to furniture in many cases are too concentrated, not approved for specific fabrics and most importantly not approved for soft surfaces” (Lazarus, 2019).
They don’t provide any long-lasting effect either that can continuously fight off new bacteria, viruses, and stop infections. Additionally, “bleach irritates mucous membranes, the skin and the airways; decomposes under heat and light; and reacts easily with other chemicals” (World Health Organization, 2014).
These issues need to be addressed and the current practices surrounding soft-surface disinfection in healthcare facilities needs to change.
What if there was a way to make soft surfaces in hospitals work for you in the fight against the spread of bacteria and infections?
This is where MonoFoil Pro Services comes in.
The MonoFoil Pro Services application process utilizes various technologies to not only disinfect surfaces of all microbial life, but bond to that surface, creating an active layer of protection that continuously fights off any and all microbes. Trusted by Fortune 500 companies, Universities, NBA teams, and multiple health care facilities, MonoFoil Pro Services provides the best solution to these prevalent issues with bacteria across industries.
By utilizing MonoFoil Pro Services and integrating it into the safety regiment of hospitals and similar facilities, it changes the game in terms of stopping the spread of bacteria on soft surfaces.
You shouldn’t have to destroy your environment in order to protect it, and MonoFoil Pro Services ensures that both the environment and people are protected.
Patients deserve the safest and cleanliest space possible when they arrive at a facility for treatment, and taking as much of a proactive approach as possible is vital to achieve optimum care of not just patients, but all staff on site. To take the next step towards protecting a facility, request a free estimate below and we will call you back to discuss your specific needs and situation.
Infection Prevention and Control of Epidemic- and Pandemic-Prone Acute Respiratory Infections in Health Care. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2014. Annex G, Use of disinfectants: alcohol and bleach. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK214356/
Kukla, Chris. “A New Frontier: The Dangers of Pathogens on Soft Surfaces.” Infection Control Today, 31 Oct. 2013, https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/environmental-hygiene/new-frontier-dangers-pathogens-soft-surfaces.
Reynolds, Kelly A. “Beating Bacteria On Soft Surfaces.” Cleaning & Maintenance Management, 1 Feb. 2014, https://www.cmmonline.com/articles/beating-bacteria-on-soft-surfaces.
“Study Verifies Importance of Vinyl Upholstery for Infection Control.” Infection Control Today, MJH Life Sciences, 16 Nov. 2000, https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/epidemiology-surveillance/study-verifies-importance-vinyl-upholstery-infection-control.