Welcome to Professional and Technical Services (PTS) – experts in chemical disinfection for infection prevention. Our goal is to educate and provide you the latest resources related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces, medical devices and hands. As specialists in disinfectant chemistries, microbiology, environmental cleaning and disinfection, facility assessments and policy and procedure creation we are dedicated to helping any person or facility who uses chemical disinfectants.

Our expertise is utilized by Infection Preventionists, Public Health Experts, First Responders, Dentists, Physicians, Nurses, Veterinarians, Aestheticians, Environmental Services professionals and janitorial product distributors to develop more sustainable cleaning and disinfection practices in North America.

Our commitment to providing chemical disinfectant education is more than business, it is a passion.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Disinfection Dysfunction – Clear, Compelling and Memorable!

I love spring, but not because trees are budding, flowers are blooming and the weather is warmer.  I love spring because it signifies the time of year for two of the leading infection prevention conferences: IPAC-Canada and APIC.  Not only do I get the opportunity to participate in the amazing education line up and talk with like-minded people who get as excited as I over a really interesting research study, but it also means that I get to unveil a new education campaign that our team has developed via the Talk Clean To Me blog! 

We LOVE to educate, and we also LOVE to have fun finding unique campaigns that provide clear, compelling and memorable messages; and I think this year’s Disinfection Dysfunction campaign does just that!  Let’s be completely truthful, not everyone finds cleaning and disinfection as exciting as I do.  Nor does everyone understand the intricacies of choosing a disinfectant.  It’s not just what it kills or how fast it kills – there is so much more, and that’s what we’ve tried to capture with our Disinfection Dysfunction campaign, including key attributes of a disinfectant, by asking you 4 simple questions: 
  1. Is your disinfectant safe for users and the environment?
  2. Does your disinfectant’s label have misleading claims?
  3. Does your disinfectant cause cross contamination?
  4. Does your disinfectant dry before it’s time?

By the way…..if you answered yes to any of these questions, your disinfectant product just might have Disinfection Dysfunction and you need to determine how to treat your Dwell Time Disease, Label Deficit Disorder, Safety Indifference Syndrome, and/or Cross Contamination Conundrum.  I could go into more detail into each of these disinfectant “diseases”, but I’m hoping that you’ll take the bait the check out our resource page – if only to check out our REALLY cute monsters and download our colouring page!   As we found out at IPAC-Canada last week, EVERYONE loves to colour!
If you’re attending APIC in a couple of weeks we hope you’ll drop by our both to learn more about Disinfectant Dysfunction and spend some time colouring with us!
Bugging Off!


Friday, May 20, 2016

How big are your hands?

Having just returned from the National IPAC-Canada Conference and seeing the excitement that Prof. Didier Pittet can bring during his talk and book signings (as seen in the picture with my colleague Olivia Lattimore being more than just a little star struck), coming across an article that talks about hand size versus the amount of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) that needs to be used seemed like fate.

I’m not that big – 5 feet 5 inches if I stand with my very best posture and as one would assume, with a shorter frame I have fairly small hands (at least I think a ring size of 4.5 is pretty small).  I’ve generally had more problems finding gloves that fit than ever thinking about whether the amount of hand sanitizer I use or is automatically dispensed is sufficient.  It’s funny, we know when a glove is too big or too small and the problems that can occur with that, yet with hand sanitizers we all think one size fits all.

The article published in 2015 by Bellissimo-Rodrgues et al concludes that healthcare professionals need to consider the size of their hands when it comes to using ABHR products to ensure that adequate coverage, and therefore efficacy of the product, can be met. Their study investigated whether the volume of ABHR used by healthcare workers affects the residual bacterial concentration on their hands according to hand size, and found that bacterial reduction was significantly lower for large hands compared with small hands. This highlights the need for customizing the volume of alcohol-based hand rub for the most effective hand hygiene.

As the researchers acknowledged, "Over the past 20 years, ABHRs have become the preferential tool for hand hygiene in healthcare settings because of their high antimicrobial efficacy, tolerability, and accessibility. There is common sense and microbiologic evidence that the volume of ABHR used should be large enough to cover the whole surface area of both hands, but there is no consensus on how much is the minimum necessary, and whether healthcare worker hand size influences it."

For the study prior to each contamination procedure, participants washed their hands with 5mL of plain soap for 1 minute. Hands were then contaminated artificially by inserting them into the bacterial suspension 5 seconds, and held up to dry for 3 minutes. After the first contamination procedure, baseline bacterial recovery was obtained using the fingertip method. As a next step, participants washed their hands, re-contaminated them in the same way as before, and undertook a hand friction action with no ABHR and a second baseline recovery of bacteria was performed. Next the study participants applied the ABHR varying every 0.5 mL from 0.5 to 3 mL.  The participants with large hands were investigated further with the application of 4, 5, and 6 mL of ABHR. The bacterial recovery step was repeated with each application. 

The researchers found that overall there were no differences between the hand size categories and the average level of contamination of hands at baseline. As the volume of ABHR was increased, there was an associated decrease in the mean bacterial count and they also found that bacterial reduction was inversely and significantly associated with hand surface area. 

The study without a doubt demonstrates a strong relationship between the reduction of bacterial count on hands and the amount of ABHR used for hand hygiene.  The researchers concluded that it is a matter of concern that HCWs with large hands could not achieve a minimum of 2 log reduction of bacteria on their hands by the application of 3 mL of ABHR, the volume recommended by most manufacturers. That concern gets greater when we realize that the mean application volume of ABHR in clinical practice may be lower than 1 mL.
So?  How big are your hands?  If you have large hands, the next time you use hand sanitizer you may want to consider using 2 pumps!

Bugging Off!


Friday, May 13, 2016

#FF The IPAC-Canada Conference Is Here!

I’m lucky.  I get to attend a number of different conferences throughout the year covering the gamut of subjects for both human and animal health.  There are some conferences where, just like a child the night before Christmas, the anticipation and excitement begins to build to such high levels that I almost feel giddy!  The National IPAC-Canada conference is one of them….and we’re only 2 sleeps away before its start! 

The reason for my excitement is twofold.  I get to ‘get my geek on’ and spend 3 days talking and educating conference delegates about my favorite topic – cleaning and disinfection! #TalkCleanToMe. I also get to spend 3 days catching up with people I am honoured to have gotten to know from across Canada over the last 13 years and call my friends.

So what am I going to ‘get my geek on’ over?  The following are the research abstracts I am going to be checking out:
  1. Can using active UV-C technology to treat the air reduce surface pathogens in a healthcare setting?
  2. Development and piloting of a clinical office practice infection prevention and control (IPAC) checklist/audit tool
  3. Infection Control: To boldly go where no man has gone before...
  4. The IPAC Procurement Predicament: Buyer Beware or Be Aware!
  5. Picture This: Creating a Cleaning Process for Paramedic Services
  6. Patient Safety Behind Closed Doors: Quality Improvement Reviews of Medical Device Reprocessing
  7. Creating a Clean Culture
  8. Clean and Green: A multidisciplinary initiative to reduce patient supply waste and improve environmental cleaning capabilities
  9. To flush or not to flush? Wipes clog pipes!
  10. Wipes and Disinfectants - The Significance of Proper Pairing for Appropriate Efficiency
  11. Operating Room Floor Technology: What is the Best Combination of Cleaners, Disinfectants and Cleaning Methodology for Removal of Staphylococcus aureus?
  12. Introducing a sodium hypochlorite (SH) based cleaner-disinfectant across multiple quaternary-hospital sites: challenges, successes and lessons
  13. Reprocessing in the Community: The Evolution of a Knowledge Product

Aside from checking these research abstracts out, you’ll find me soaking up everything I can during a full day symposium on Implementation Science where Jason Tetro (aka The Germ Guy) will kick off the day and Ms. Jacquie Brown, an Implementation Science expert, will take attendees through a workshop format of learning, implementing and applying our newfound knowledge!  From there I plan on basking in the knowledge that I know Dr. Didier Pittet will transfer during his talk on “Infection Prevention: From Care Bundles to Multimodal Interventions” and Dr. Laura Kahn’s talk titled “Physicians, Farmers, and the Politics of Antibiotic Resistance: A One Health Analysis”.  Of course I’ll also have to attend Dr. Thomas Louie’s talk “The Scoop on Poop” and Dr. Dave Goldfarb’s talk “What’s new in Number 2?” because what conference would be complete without talking about diarrheal diseases!

There are of course many other sessions I’ll be flitting to and from, but I think you’ll agree the session line up is going to be great - and I think like me, everyone attending will come away recharged, energized, braindead and yes…..probably a little sleep deprived!

Bugging Off!


Friday, May 6, 2016

Mattresses – the “elephant” fomite in the room…

Tonight while I write this blog, I am on the eve of a 4-day weekend get-a-way.  I’m excited.  It’s a birthday present.  I’m a lucky girl and have an awesome husband.  But tomorrow means I’ll be sleeping in a hotel on a bed that countless others have laid on before me.  I generally try not to think about it.  I put on my blinders and blissfully believe that the freshly made bed actually has clean sheets on it and all will be well.  Unfortunately after reading a study by Oliveira et al in the April edition of AJIC titled “Recovery of resistant bacteria from mattresses of patients under contact precautions” my stomach started to turn, my mind has gone into imagination overdrive and I’m not sure I’m going to sleep like a baby tomorrow night…. 

It’s true, in healthcare facilities we know that mattresses are prone to contamination and are potential reservoirs for pathogens.  In fact I have written a couple of blogs in the past talking about the perils of mattresses.  “Mattresses – A Secret Storage Sinkhole” summarized an article that investigated a situation where after lying on a bed in a clean patient room a patient noticed that the back of the bed pad and mattress were contaminated with a blood-like fluid.  The pressure from the patient's weight on the bed caused the blood-like fluid to seep from the mattress and stain the bed pad and sheets. I said it then and I’ll say it now - #GROSS!!!!! 

An even earlier blog, Mattresses...a soft place on which to lounge, nap or sleep investigated cleaning practices and disinfectants used for cleaning and disinfecting mattresses.  The researchers found that while manufacturers who make the mattress material found on hospital beds recommend cleaning the mattress with soap and water, disinfecting the surface, and then rinsing, only 6 of the 113 hospitals they had spoken with were following these instructions.  The concern with not following the instructions is that the material will breakdown and lead to breaks in infection prevention.

In this most recent study, the researchers were able to find resistant bacteria from the majority of the mattresses they sampled, particularly from the lower region of the mattress.  About half of the resistant bacteria found on the mattresses were associated with the patient currently occupying the bed but the majority of the microorganisms could be associated to the previous bed occupant and NOT related to the current patient!  #YUCK!!

All this ties in to cleaning and disinfection and paying attention to what is probably the biggest fomite in the room!  Is it surprising that the lower region of the mattress was the most contaminated after cleaning?  Not to me!  Visualize the process of cleaning – you start at the top and work to the bottom.  The greatest amount of disinfectant is released at the top of the mattress and the cloth dries up as you get to the bottom.   There is sufficient science to support if you do not get sufficient disinfectant onto a surface for the contact time as noted on the disinfectant product you are using, you’re probably not going to kill the pathogens you need to!

I hope I haven’t ruined your weekend!  As for me – it has been shown that hotel mattresses are not cleaned between guests.  Can you imagine what I’d find if I were to test the mattress?  #IDONOTWANTTOKNOW!!

Bugging Off!