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Healthcare Cleaning Forum - the secret epidemic of HCAIs

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Despite advances in medicines and treatments, there’s one simple fact that has never changed: prevention is better than a cure. It’s the reason countries invest in vaccines. However, hospitals are struggling to tackle the silent epidemic of healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). So, here’s why you need to visit the Healthcare Cleaning Forum 2020 if you want to deliver effective infection prevention that improves patient outcomes.

How HCAIs became a silent epidemic in hospitals

HCAIs are a huge problem for healthcare organisations. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimates that 4.5m HCAIs occur in Europe’s hospitals every year. This means that, on any given day, one in every 15 hospital patients has an HCAI.

This highlights the challenge for hospitals as they work to provide the highest standards of care. Healthcare professionals are treating illness and injury, only to see patients contract infections. Sometimes, the HCAIs can even present a greater risk to patient safety than the original reason for hospital admission.

And that’s the critical element. HCAIs are reversing the efforts of healthcare professionals – putting their patients at risk of disability and death. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that HCAIs cause close to 1.7m deaths a year in the US alone. Imagine scaling that to a global level.

The real problem is that this situation shows no signs of coming to an end. Roughly 2.7m new HCAI cases spring up each year across the EU. HCAIs have become a silent epidemic that will turn into a global crisis if we don’t tackle it now.

Why antimicrobial resistance could cause a global crisis

Suggesting that we face a potential global crisis might sound like hyperbole. But, if you downplay the issue, you underestimate the true impact of HCAIs – now and in the future. What makes HCAIs a truly dangerous prospect is the fact they contribute to the growing problem caused by antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Currently, AMR contributes to 33,000 infection-related deaths across Europe. And this will only increase as resistance to antibiotics continues to develop. The ECDC even suggests that, if institutions fail to act, AMR to second-line antibiotics will be 72% higher in 2030 compared to what it was in 2005. This is a huge leap in resistance that would put millions of lives at risk.

One of the main causes for AMR is the overuse of antibiotics in healthcare organisations. However, this has its roots in a failure to prevent infection in the first place. To put this in context, three-quarters of infections from bacteria resistant to antibiotics are caused by HCAIs. This shows just how important it is for you to focus on infection prevention. By doing so, you can reduce instances of HCAIs and halt the march of AMR all in one go.

The Healthcare Cleaning Forum is back

As mentioned earlier, prevention is better than a cure. That’s why infection prevention is probably the most effective way to tackle HCAIs and AMR. So, how do you provide effective infection control in busy hospital environments?

The answer is healthcare cleaning. There’s an undeniable link between hospital environments and patient safety. And it’s an area we explored at Interclean Amsterdam 2018 following the creation of a special, dedicated event.

We developed the Healthcare Cleaning Forum (HCF) 2018 in partnership with leading figures in international infection prevention. The aim was to provide a platform for experts from the worlds of healthcare and cleaning – giving them a chance to share best practice and help each other overcome the challenges present in the segment.

The event was a huge success, drawing attendees from all over the world. Its popularity underlined how organisations often undervalue healthcare cleaning as a solution. As the report from the HCF highlighted, ‘the importance of the hospital environment in patient care has only recently been recognised’. Healthcare institutions everywhere are still working out how best to provide infection prevention. And, with AMR a rising threat, expert insight on effective strategies for healthcare cleaning are as important as ever.

That’s why we’re delighted to see the return of the Healthcare Cleaning Forum to Interclean Amsterdam 2020. Once again, the HCF will bring healthcare and cleaning professionals together to discuss the future of infection prevention. And it’ll offer a vital source of knowledge and learning to those looking to improve patient outcomes through the effective cleaning and control of their environments.

Learn from the infection prevention experts

Next year’s Forum will follow a similar programme to the one in 2018. Featuring talks from a selection of infection prevention and healthcare cleaning experts, it’ll be an opportunity make sure you’re using the latest strategies and approaches. It’ll also host a range of practical sessions designed to demonstrate techniques to deliver effective environmental hygiene.

Returning to the HCF to share his knowledge will be Dr. Didier Pittet, Professor of Medicine and Hospital Epidemiology at the University of Geneva Hospitals in Switzerland. Among others, joining him will be Alexandra Peters of the Infection Control Programme at the University of Geneva Hospitals; and Dr. Pierre Parneix, Doctor of Public Health and Hospital Hygiene at Bordeaux Hospital University Center. We’re excited to welcome such an experienced panel of experts to the Forum.

In terms of the practical sessions, the Forum will offer a range of useful ‘how to’ demonstrations in areas such as instrument sterilisation and waste management. There’ll also be a chance to learn how water and air quality affect hospital environments and patient outcomes. You’re guaranteed to come away with plenty of ideas for how to improve healthcare cleaning and infection prevention across their facilities.

Discover the future of healthcare cleaning

The Interclean newsletter will provide an ideal opportunity to gain a greater understanding of healthcare cleaning – as well as how to implement it as part of an effective infection prevention programme. It’s an area that’s only going to become more important to hospital environments as AMR continues to grow as a threat.

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