I remember my mom telling me as a teenager, the older you get the faster life goes....it seems that she was telling the truth! It's hard to believe that another year is coming to an end and that Lee and I have managed to post 50 more blogs!
2014 was certainly the year of the outbreak with Porcine Endemic Virus and Ebolavirus rearing their heads in North America, Enterovirus D68 infecting hundreds of children and vaccine preventable diseases such as Measles showing up in schools and Mumps hitting our beloved NHL teams this fall.
This past spring our team put together a marketing campaign to highlight the importance that there is more than just what a product kills to consider when choosing a disinfectant. Affectionately referred to as the OMG! We have an HAI! campaign, we compiled many of our blogs that we had previously written and added some new ones to tell as story and even put them together in our first published Talk Clean To Me blog book! Starting with The little devil or the little angel, we set the stage with the fact that at times the metrics used to choose a disinfectant (e.g. what it kills or what it costs) can at times be flawed making it very difficult for infection prevention or environmental services to make a business case for changing products. The first chapter if you will focused on Premature Evaporation and the fact that many disinfectants dry on surfaces before their contact times as listed on the label is achieved which can have a direct impact on killing the bugs you were intending to kill! Basically, if your disinfectant leaves you dry, your healthcare facility may be left unprotected against the spread of HAIs. Chapter two looked at Disinfection Dysfunction and the fact that we are frequently not achieving disinfection compliance with our One and Done mentality. If we rely on a single wipe and walk away assuming disinfection has occurred we are not complying with the use instructions on our disinfectants and can leave ourselves vulnerable to being cited during our accreditation audits. Chapter three titled No Glove, No Love discussed one of my favorite topics around disinfectants - user safety! Many of the disinfectants products we use pose a risk to our staff (EVS, Nursing or Clinical) and require the use of PPE. In fact, among nursing professionals, workplace exposures to cleaning and disinfecting products increase the risk of occupational asthma. Quats and Bleach being the leading chemicals contributing to not just occupational asthma, but neurological complains such as headaches or dizziness and eye and skin irritation. We wrapped up the book with Gotta Be Wet to Disinfect providing a check list of how to assess and compare disinfectants to ensure you choose the best one for your facility.
This fall we spent some time dissecting Drs. Rutala and Weber's article Selection of the Disinfectant (ICHE July 2014). Written over three weeks, I'll take Kill Claims for $200, Slippery When Wet, the Importance of Contact times and Over Easy, Why safety profiles and ease of use will improve disinfection this landmark article that embodies the attributes that anyone who is choosing a disinfectant should consider.
Closing out the year, I spent a few weeks on apathy. Please accept my condolences was a personal piece written after a friend lost her mother to C. diff. You hope you do not have to attend a visitation due to such an unnecessary loss but it seems to the be the fact life. A fact of life so prevalent, that I had ANOTHER friend lose a loved one. Her mother passed from a Staph infection following a routine procedure. The funeral was today.....two days before Christmas.
My hope is that 2015 will bring us wisdom, strength and courage. Wisdom to realize that we cannot continue on with status quo. Strength to fight for what we know is right and courage to not back down in the face of adversity and put our patients and their lives first.
Wishing everyone a Happy Holidays! Thank you for reading our Talk Clean To Me blogs.
Bugging Off for 2014!