Many people in the healthcare field know that they make horrible patients. They know too much. They question everything and worse yet, they think they know better. I don’t pretend to be a doctor or nurse. I will admit to using Google and my background in epidemiology, pharmacology and growing up on a farm where you learn to assess your animals before the vet shows up has without a doubt turned me into a patient who asks lot of questions. Working in the field of cleaning and disinfection, I think worse than asking questions about treatment options or diagnosis, I have become a person who judges. I judge hand hygiene practices. I judge over the level of cleanliness. I judge the process of cleaning and disinfection (if I get to observe them in action) and I judge based on the type of disinfectant used.
What’s worse is that I also take pictures to share with others…
I’m getting old. I recently started physiotherapy. As with any healthcare appointment, you often have some time waiting in your exam room. I should never be left alone. It gives me the time to investigate and take pictures. I’m happy to say my Physiotherapist uses good hand hygiene techniques. They use a popular Quat-Alcohol product and liberally apply to achieve the longer than 1 minute contact time as the table was still damp when I was shown to my room. Then, I was left alone and as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words…
As the picture indicates they seemed to have missed a spot on the I may have moved the box to see what was below it. I also noticed that their disinfectant spray bottle, while it had the name of the product written in black sharpie, did not have any further information such as precautionary information or expiry date. The product is a RTU so I doubt it had expired, but it certainly makes me wonder if they are topping up the bottles rather than using until empty and cleaning before reusing.and the glove box had some “gunk” on it.
Cleaning and disinfection of the environment and shared patient devices is vital to ensure infections are not transmitted. While most of the treatments are non-invasive and performed on intact skin, some procedures can be more invasive and associated with mucous membranes such as the mouth, for physiotherapy on your jaw., like doctor’s clinics and hospitals, are prone to having infectious agents like influenza, norovirus or MRSA, walk through the door.
While the media may not be promoting sensational outbreaks associated with a physiotherapy office, infection control practices should not be based on the fact that the number of outbreaks is low. Everything is based on risk. Some procedures are riskier than others. The key is to be vigilant, ask questions and at the minimum remind your healthcare provider to wash their hands!
PS – for my second visit I was in another room. It was spotless, but I’ll continue to watch and you can be assured I’ll give them any advice on cleaning and disinfection that I think is prudent!