Outsourcing your hospital or surgery center’s janitorial services can help reduce the instance of persistent C. diff contamination on floors and in ventilation ducts.
Janitorial Services Practices for Reducing the Instance of Persistent C. Diff in Hospitals and Surgery Centers
C. diff (Clostridium Difficile) is a bacteria that lives in the human intestine and is typically found in older patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities, especially during or after a round of antibiotics, which disrupts healthy gut bacteria, allowing C. diff to flourish.
C. diff affects approximately 500 thousand individuals in the U.S. every year, with symptoms ranging from abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea, to colitis (a dangerous inflammation of the colon) and potentially leading to death.
The bacteria spreads through spores found in feces.
Spores from C. difficile bacteria are passed in feces and spread to food, surfaces and objects when people who are infected don’t wash their hands thoroughly.
These spores can persist in a room for weeks or months.
If you touch a surface contaminated with C. difficile spores, you may then unknowingly swallow the bacteria.
Troublingly, a recent study conducted by University College London Hospitals discovered that;
C. difficile is difficult to remove through cleaning as it is resistant to some disinfectants and can remain on surfaces for up to five months.
Researchers testing 146 hospital rooms over the course of one year found C. difficile on 22.9 percent of surfaces tested before terminal cleaning, and 10.6 percent of surfaces tested after terminal cleaning.
This presents doctors and hospitals with the challenge of cost-effectively maintaining a high standard of sanitation while ensuring their patient’s health and safety.
Green Cleaning Tips for Persistent C. Diff Disinfection
C. diff spreads as a spore, which means air ducts must be covered when terminal cleaning.
- First, thoroughly clean the operating room ceiling, floor, walls, light fixtures, and equipment to remove soil and increase the efficacy of the disinfectant.
- Consider employing a vacuum scrubber to clean the floors, especially in restrooms.
- Next, disinfect the entire room top to bottom, including all furniture and equipment, but especially the high-contact surfaces, specifically the nurses’ emergency call button, and light switches, as well as all bathroom fixtures.
- Studies have shown that hydrogen peroxide is the best disinfectant for removing C. diff. The positive effects are multiplied when combined with a non-touch disinfecting technology, such as UV-C lighting.
- Additionally, consider the use of electrostatic disinfection appliances to reduce the amount of time and cost required to complete terminal cleans between surgical patients.
- Afterwards, the air duct vent panels will need to be unsealed, cleaned, and disinfected.
- The air ducts should be regularly cleaned by trained professionals with the appropriate safety equipment.
- DO NOT disinfect the air ducts unless your facility has the ability to restrict ventilation flow from the space being disinfected to the outside.
- Make sure to replace HEPA filtered air filters regularly, and dispose of them properly.
Due to the complexity of ensuring the safety of all building occupants, staff, and guests, it is recommended to isolate a patient diagnosed with or being treated for C. diff as quickly as possible, and restrict ventilation from the room.
Additionally, high standards of hand-hygiene must be adhered to by all staff, and those cleaning for or treating patients with C. diff infections.
References & Resources
- Is C. diff (Clostridium difficile) Contagious?
- C. difficile persists most frequently in floor corners after disinfection
- The Potential for Airborne Dispersal of Clostridium Difficile from Symptomatic Patients
Clostridium Difficile (C. diff) is a potentially deadly bacteria that affects a half-million people in the U.S. every year.
While hydrogen peroxide has proven effective at removing the bacteria spores when compared to similar disinfectants, studies have established that problem areas in operating rooms, especially the floor and ceiling, as well as restrooms, remain a challenge.
However, combining non-contact disinfecting appliances, such as ultra-violet lighting, ariel hydrogen peroxide decontamination systems, and electrostatic disinfecting appliances with EPA certified cleaning products and microfiber has been shown to significantly reduce the instance of surface-resident C. diff spores.
Additionally, a high-standard of hand-hygiene is necessary to prevent the spread of the spores to ourselves, staff, guests, and patients.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of outsourced janitorial services and how it can help you cost-effectively eliminate the instances of persistent C. diff in restrooms, air ducts, and operating rooms–contact us today for a free quote!
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