Mobile medical equipment hygiene is crucial in any healthcare facility to avoid the transmission of microorganisms from a medical worker to another, or to patients.
Mobile medical equipment such as electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors and defibrillators in ambulatory care, emergency rooms, and hospitals are used multiple times on a daily basis. Because they’re also regularly passed between the hands of staff members, and come into contact with patients, they also have high microbial exposure and are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning and disinfection.
In this article, you’ll learn the importance of maintaining good mobile medical equipment hygiene.
It Helps To Avoid The Spread Of Infection
Mobile medical equipment items can harbor disease-causing microorganisms when used without proper hygiene. The good news is this can be easily avoided. Implementing a single-room use of each medical laptop cart can help promote mobile medical equipment hygiene as it avoids repetitive transfers of medical equipment items from a potentially contaminated area to another.
As a standard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has set a guideline for the disinfection and sterilization of medical equipment. This includes the use of appropriate cleaning solutions and methods for mobile medical equipment. For medical devices, cleaning with alkaline-based cleaning agents will help dissolve fat and protein residues efficiently.
On the other hand, doctors and nurses should also practice mobile medical equipment hygiene through proper handwashing and other hand hygiene alternatives before and after using each equipment to reduce the transmission of microorganisms.
It Helps To Keep Medical Equipment In Good Working Condition
The global healthcare sector has experienced significant changes and transformations because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortage in medical equipment has become a constant problem as more patients require emergency services, which often involves the use of ventilators, defibrillators, and other mobile medical equipment.
Mobile medical equipment hygiene is necessary to maintain the proper function of the equipment itself, especially amidst the shortage. Improper use, harsh handling, and poorly maintained mobile medical equipment can cause early wear and tear, which means they won’t even reach their manufacturer-specified lifespan.
The CDC guidelines recommend the use of neutral pH detergent solutions that contain enzymes compatible with the equipment’s materials. Manual cleaning is recommended when handling difficult-to-clean or fragile equipment and instruments.
It May Help Reduce Healthcare Worker Absenteeism
According to Forbes, there’s a growing shortage of healthcare workers for older adults. As the COVID-19 pandemic eases, more residents are moving into long-term facilities or senior living again. However, staff shortages restrict the number of patients these facilities can accommodate.
In addition, hospital admissions are higher than ever. And because the number of medical workers is far less than the number of patients being admitted, healthcare facilities can’t afford frontline staff absenteeism.
Unhygienic mobile medical equipment can unknowingly pass around disease-causing microorganisms, especially among its users. For vulnerable health care workers, this can turn into an infection. Subsequently, it may lead to absenteeism, which can cripple the facility’s capacity and quality of services.
Hence, implementing proper mobile medical equipment hygiene is crucial to avoid this common workforce problem.
It Helps To Make Patient Care Delivery More Efficient
Contaminants are everywhere, especially in clinics, hospitals, medical centers, and even in long-term care facilities. If a health care worker doesn’t practice proper hygiene when handling mobile medical equipment and throughout the facility, then more patients are at risk. Instead of recovering faster, a patient’s condition may worsen just because of a hospital-acquired infection that could have been avoided.
Therefore, it’s important to observe proper hygiene—from using patient monitors and computer keyboards to emergency care devices. Every worker should understand the risks involved when medical equipment items aren’t disinfected after every use.
It Promotes Cost-Efficiency
Disinfecting an entire healthcare facility can make a huge dent in the operations budget. But clinics and hospitals need to comply with existing protocols, otherwise, they’ll face government-imposed sanctions and legal consequences.
In the event of positive COVID-19 cases among staff, the management will have to provide financial aid and medical assistance to affected workers. The expenses can be costly and may lead to profit losses due to lost work hours and overtime payments for the staff that will replace or cover shifts for them.
A well-maintained medical facility that also carries out proper mobile medical equipment hygiene will save huge costs from the impacts of infection, staff absenteeism, and medical equipment repair cost. If you’re a healthcare facility manager or owner, it’s important to implement cleanliness and proper hygiene not just among your healthcare workers, but including all mobile medical equipment items as well.
While the standard measures in equipment hygiene can be quite challenging because of viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms commonly found in healthcare settings, enforcing strict safety protocols can make a big difference. In the long run, these best practices will help promote better patient care quality, smoother operations, and bigger savings.