This winter season brings with it a time when the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading more rapidly than at any other point. Hospital infection prevention professionals are more focused than ever on minimizing the spread of bacteria and sanitizing common points for infection, like hospital floors.
A growing body of research shows that hospital floors are covered with bacteria and are a vector for infection. The American Journal of Infection Control published in a 2017 article the results of a study that assessed what is found on hospital floors after researchers cultured more than 100 Cleveland, Ohio, hospital floor sites. Among the findings:
- 22 percent of the floor sites were positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcusaureus (MRSA)
- 33 percent of the floor sites were positive for vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE)
- 72 percent of floor sites were positive for Clostridium difficile (C. difficile)
- 1.4 high-touch objects on average were in contact with the floor
- 24 percent of high-touch objects were contaminated with more than one pathogen
- 57 percent of contaminated objects in contact with the floor transferred pathogens (bacteria) to hands
Faultless Healthcare Linen, an ImageFIRST Company, brings to this challenge its fully managed medical floor mat program that serves to reduce the spread of contaminants, lower the incidents of slips and falls and aid in hospital cost management.
Medical mat solutions are used in the healthcare environment to keep areas clean, sterile or uncontaminated. A bonus is that they also serve safety and anti-fatigue goals by providing traction to prevent slips and ergonomic features that deliver relief to medical professionals who must stand for long periods of time.
Reducing the floor’s role in spreading bacteria, dirt and other contaminants starts at the hospital’s front door.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, carpet “acts as a reservoir for dust, dirt, pollen, mold, spores, pesticides and other materials which may originate indoors or be brought into the indoor environment from outside.”
Studies by ISSA, the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, have shown that commercial-grade carpeting can accumulate up to one pound of dirt in a week. Without a system to trap and filter them, these same contaminants can quickly migrate from the entrance throughout the hospital.
Faultless Healthcare Linen has the Scraper Mat to capture dirt and grime before they get in the hospital door. Durable, easy to clean and slip resistant, this mat is the first line of defense against contaminants brought into the healthcare environment from the outside.
The company’s Walk-Off Mat serves to clean and dry residual dirt and contaminants, continuing the work of minimizing the tracking and migration of bacteria throughout the healthcare facility. Often placed just inside front or side doors, the Walk-Off Mat also frequently is found at sinks, in breakrooms and cafeterias, in labs and locker rooms and in front of vending machines. These mats also can feature custom logo or artwork that is digitally printed on the eco-friendly fabric.
Effective matting systems help trap and filter dirt, moisture and bacteria below the mat’s surface before these and other contaminants have the chance to contribute to a hospital’s healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, “…about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection.” While an improvement over 2011 survey findings, this 2105 HAI Hospital Prevalence survey noted that about 72,000 hospital patients with HAIs died during their hospitalizations.
While serving as an essential element in any hospital’s infection control program, a medical mat program has the additional benefit of supporting the health system’s staff safety, health and productivity as well as cost management.
Most slip and fall accidents occur on wet surfaces. More slip resistant than a hard floor’s surface, mats improve safety for staff and patients by keeping floors cleaner and drier, reducing these types of accidents.
Faultless Healthcare Linen’s Comfort Flow mats provide a clean, anti-microbial and comfortable surface for healthcare professionals who spend most of the day on their feet. The Anti-Fatigue Mat has the same qualities with beveled edges to provide a safe transition from floor to mat.
The Anti-Fatigue Mat has additional, ergonomic benefits. A Center of Ergonomics at the University of Michigan study, reported that workers who stand on concrete floors for long periods of time suffered significant levels of fatigue and leg, back and other bodily discomfort while those who stand on anti-fatigue mats reduced their level of fatigue and discomfort by up to 50 percent.
This contributes to one element of hospital cost management in that the aches and pains of long-term standing can lead to loss of productivity and compensable workers claims. Mitigating the negative health consequences of the standing worker can result in significant savings in productivity, worker compensation costs, insurance rates and absenteeism.
There is one other element of good cost management that accompanies a fully managed mat program. In stopping the migration of dirt and moisture deeper into the hospital, the right matting can protect the health system’s investment in all of its flooring as it stays in better condition over a longer period of time. The Continuing Education Center, Architecture + Construction cites 3M in noting that, “Without effective entrance matting, as few as 1,500 people can remove 42 percent of the finish from a floor.”
Faultless Healthcare Linen is a healthcare linen-only service provider that prioritizes infection prevention. Our fully managed floor mat program comes with all the critical healthcare laundry certifications including HLAC accreditation and TRSA’s Hygienically Clean Healthcare. It is a simple solution to help you meet your health system’s infection prevention goals, providing you with increased safety, cost management solutions and peace of mind.