If, for whatever reason, you end up staying in a hospital, you’ll have enough to worry about without the thought you might contract an infection while you’re there. However, picking up a healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) during a hospital stay is the unfortunate reality for too many patients.
Across European hospitals, almost nine million HCAIs occur each year – leaving one in every 15 patients at risk of infection due to healthcare interventions. Sadly, it also means that roughly 90,000 people in the EU die each year as a result of contracting HCAIs.
On top of the poor patient outcomes, HCAIs also add to the strain on a hospital’s resources – for example, reducing the number of free beds for new admissions. The cost of additional treatment is also something that has a negative impact on the overall standard of care each hospital can offer all its patients.
The key to preventing infection in healthcare
The challenge for hospital teams is making sure they can prevent HCAIs from occurring and spreading. They have to destroy the micro-organisms that causes the infection and deny them an environment in which they thrive.
This means using sterilisation to make equipment and surfaces safe to use. It’s a huge ongoing task for any healthcare cleaning – especially knowing how vital it is to a patient’s health. Innovations in this area are continually appearing to drive efficiency and performance.
One such innovation is the use of steam cleaning to sterilise hospital environments. Here are three reasons why many hospitals are adopting it as their preferred cleaning method:
1. Steam cleaning is seriously effective
From the wards to the operating rooms, steam cleaning is an incredibly effective method of tackling micro-organisms and creating clean, uncontaminated environments. Steam cleaners have been shown to be capable of removing up to 99.99% of germs and bacteria from a wide variety of surfaces, making it ideal for disinfecting rooms as well as medical equipment. In fact, a recently published study aimed at exploring the effect of infection control on neonatal intensive care units (one of the most sensitive areas of a hospital) found that steam cleaning delivered a significantly lower rate of infection.
Its versatility also makes it a cost-effective solution for healthcare cleaning. There aren’t many products that can boast the ability to provide such a wide variety of areas with the standard of cleaning quality needed within a hospital. This makes it quicker and easier for your team to sterilise each environment, cutting down on the time it takes to get the job done. Add in the fact that you need only provide water, rather than sourcing a selection of chemicals, and steam cleaning seems like the obvious choice for healthcare cleaning professionals.
2. Steam cleaning helps in the fight against anti-microbial resistance
HCAIs are a huge challenge for healthcare cleaning, but there’s a real danger that – in tackling them – hospitals create a much more dangerous situation for their patients. Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) is a growing threat to healthcare, most commonly seen in its resistance to otherwise life-saving treatments like antibiotics.
To understand the scale of this potential risk, the UK Government has estimated that AMR will be responsible for 10m deaths a year – more than cancer and diabetes combined. One problem creating this is to do with the possible overuse of antibiotics, but there’s also the fact that the micro-organisms have grown resistant to the antimicrobial elements contained within cleaning chemicals. So, in sterilising an environment today, healthcare cleaning teams could be creating a bigger issue for tomorrow.
This is where steam cleaning can offer the ideal solution. Using only heated water, steam cleaners are effective at breaking down micro-organisms and preventing replication – all without adding to the growing problem of AMR. In this way, steam cleaning delivers positive outcomes for patients both now and in the future.
3. Steam cleaning is more sustainable and environmentally friendly
There’s more than one reason that the use of water in steam cleaning is ideal for hospital environments. As well as reducing the impact of AMR on patient outcomes, it provides a much more sustainable healthcare cleaning solution than methods that are reliant on different chemicals to deliver results.
Not only is steam cleaning a quick, easy and effective way to sterilise equipment and surfaces; it’s also immensely environmentally friendly. All it needs to run is power for the cleaner and water for the steam – and it creates very little waste. It’s efficient, safe and the ideal healthcare cleaning solution for hospitals and organisations looking to adapt to the Circular Economy or push for Zero-Waste operations.
See the new age of steam for yourself
If you’re not already convinced about the merits of steam cleaning, you soon will be. Subscibe to our newsletter read the latest developments regarding steam cleaning.