HAIs and Surface Contamination
Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) continue to challenge the Healthcare industry. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 4% of the patients admitted to hospitals will contract an HAI, and the total economic burden is estimated at over $35 billion annually. There is mounting evidence that environmental surface contamination is a factor in cross-transmission of HAIs and the costs to the healthcare system are too big to ignore. Cleanability is key in combating HAIs. Why?
Reservoirs for Bacteria
The efficacy of cleaning is dependent upon 3 things:
- The material being cleaned
- The cleaning products and protocols used
- The frequency of cleaning
But everything is predicated on the material of the product being cleaned. Most wood and metal furniture have surface coatings, that are only microns thick, to try to make cleaning easy and help protect against HAIs. In the instance of wood furniture products, the nature of the material is inherently soft and porous, and is prone to nicks and scratches. Add time and moisture and the substrate swells, so normal use actually allows bacteria and other organisms to gain a stronghold. Harsh cleaning chemicals could then further damage the surface. In the instance of metal furnishings, once the surface coatings are scratched, the chemicals used to disinfect may have corrosive properties and negatively impact the integrity of the furniture. Over time, these compromised surfaces could become reservoirs for dangerous pathogens.
Cleanability – the new watchword.
Pathogens like C-diff (Clostridium difficile), MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus) and Acinetobacter are a challenge to hospitals. Because our products are smooth and non-porous, they are less likely to harbor dangerous pathogens and are easier to clean. This helps Hospital Environmental Services in getting rooms ready quickly.
In March, 2014, the CDC posted over 30 Environmental Protection Agency products approved to clean C. diff. Only Kwalu can withstand all of the cleaning products needed to keep patients and others safe.
Kwalu Doesn’t Need Arm Caps
Some manufacturers are resorting to polyurethane or similar arm caps because their metal and wood frames become degraded by cleaning chemicals, wear and tear, and oils from human hands. Caps add seams and are typically not cleanable by all chemicals available to combat diseases like MRSA and C. diff. With Kwalu, it’s a non-issue.
Patient Room of the Future
November 2013, the Wall Street Journal posted an article on Mayo’s Center for Innovation indicating the patient room of the future should have: “all surfaces in the room other than floors made of Corian® or similar solid surface materials…” Kwalu already has the product of the future! From chairs to casegoods, our diverse healthcare product line includes bariatric seating, lounge seating, sleeper sofas, recliners, patient chairs, waiting area chairs, guest chairs, occasional tables, overbed tables, bedside cabinets and more.
Antimicrobial Product Protection and Cleanability
As infection prevention protocols are becoming increasingly vital, Kwalu’s antimicrobial product protection is available for furniture in high-use healthcare and senior living settings.
We did our research. Some wood furniture products use an antimicrobial topical coating that is typically only a few microns thick, and they’re only as good as the integrity of the finish. As soon as the substrate or finish is damaged, scratched, nicked or swells due to normal use, bacteria and other organisms could gain a stronghold. Harsh cleaning chemicals may damage the topical coating, leaving it, at best, ineffectual and at worst, compromised. And no warranty for their antimicrobial finishes is mentioned.
Unlike wood products, which can be so easily damaged and render the antimicrobial product protection useless, our patented, high-impact-resistant repairable polymer is scuff-, scratch-, and water-resistant. But best of all, it can be thoroughly cleansed with most sanitizing solutions commonly used in healthcare and senior living environments, (including bleach) without compromising the antimicrobial product protection properties or damaging the finish. Kwalu’s unique aesthetic and durability benefits, together with our 10 year warranty on optional antimicrobial product protection, make it clear why Kwalu’s furniture is the obvious choice.
Partnership with Clorox
Kwalu has partnered with Clorox Healthcare® to target the reduction of healthcare associated pathogens by combining Clorox Healthcare’s® portfolio of disinfectants with Kwalu’s non-porous, non-coated furnishings. Kwalu furniture has been proven to stand up to rigorous cleaning protocols and has shown compatibility with Clorox Healthcare® disinfection chemistries, including Clorox Healthcare® Bleach Germicidal Wipes and Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant Wipes. The combination of products and protocols can result in effective surface disinfection leading to the reduction of cross-transmission of pathogens that put patients at risk.