According to the most recent statistics, 834,000 hospital patients in England acquired an infection whilst in hospital during 2016/17, at a cost of £2.7 billion to the NHS*.
Healthcare-associated infections (referred to as HAIs or HCAIs) were a leading priority for NHS infection prevention and control teams long before SARS-CoV-2 ever reared its ugly head, but the arrival of a highly transmissible and potentially fatal new virus brought immediate and renewed focus to the challenge of preventing cross-infection in hospitals and other healthcare settings.
The most common and serious HAIs are caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses and spores. There’s MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that often shows up in urinary tract infections in catheterised patients; C. diff, a spore that causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration; E. coli, a gram-negative bacteria which causes vomiting & diarrhoea, and of course the influenza virus, which causes respiratory flu.
IPC professionals know that, just like SARS-CoV-2, these bugs exact the heaviest toll on the sickest and most vulnerable patients – the elderly, those recovering from surgery or undergoing cancer treatment, babies in the neonatal unit, and patients in the ICU.
Back in 2016/17, HAIs resulted in an extra 7.1 million extra occupied hospital bed days and killed 25,000 people. Healthcare staff are also affected by HAIs; tens of thousands of working days are lost as a result every year.
As a result, HAIs cause a huge slowdown in patient throughput – delayed discharges due to bed or staff shortages mean patients waiting for admission have to wait even longer.
Reducing the incidence of hospital-acquired infection is not straightforward and there will always be risk, especially when catheters, feeding tubes and vascular access devices are involved. Hand hygiene, use of PPE and safe disposal of sharps are essential. But ultimately, the most significant impact on the incidence of HAIs comes as a result of eliminating bacteria, viruses and spores in the hospital environment – if they’re not present, they can’t cause an infection.
Over the past year, SARS-CoV-2 has shone a light on hospital disinfection like never before, with facilities adopting a zero-tolerance approach on surface hygiene. This has presented major challenges given that a large proportion of hospital disinfection has hitherto been done manually using chlorine-based disinfectant sprays and cloths – a hugely time-consuming process that’s highly vulnerable to human error.
Other technologies such as UV and hydrogen peroxide vapour offer a solution that’s effective and thorough, but the vast expense and complexity of these systems has resulted in relatively low uptake across the NHS. As a result, there’s a big gap in hospital disinfection processes that could leave room for hospital-acquired infections to grow – a gap that VIRONEX is perfectly adapted to fill.
IPC professionals seeking an alternative to manual disinfection processes are looking for three things: efficacy, speed and convenience. VIRONEX ticks the boxes on all three with an innovative delivery system that negates the need for manual disinfection without adding extra complications or risks to the process.
VIRONEX is a highly effective virucidal, antibacterial and sporicidal disinfectant cleaner supplied in a pre-pressurised canister and applied using a simple spray nozzle. The system delivers a continuous, fine mist spray that effectively coats surfaces with minimal absorption and a fast drying time.
VIRONEX is safe to use on all surfaces including vinyls, textiles and metals and won’t stain, fade or corrode these surfaces. There’s no need to wipe the product away after application, and no need to clear out rooms or bays before use – simply spray and leave.
VIRONEX’s 20-micron droplets fall out of airborne suspension in seconds so there’s no need to exclude people from treated areas for lengthy periods, and unlike HPV, no need to seal up apertures and air vents prior to use. The system is safe and incredibly simple to implement and use, with no advanced staff training, no external personnel required and no high-tech equipment to fail or break down.
When you need to disinfect, VIRONEX is always ready to go. There’s no mixing and the system is completely self-contained with no power supply needed – just grab and go. And because it’s propellant-free, VIRONEX is also non-flammable and easy to store.
This incredible convenience, coupled with VIRONEX’s efficacy – it’s certified to six BS EN standards and kills 99.999% of pathogens in a single application – makes it a system IPC personnel will love to use, and one NHS facilities can rely on to keep people safe from infection, no matter what the future holds.
To find out more about VIRONEX, get in touch.
*Source: British Medical Journal