The Benefits of Antimicrobial Technology in Healthcare Facilities
Patient outcomes and staff safety are top priorities for hospitals. But harmful microbes such as E. Colli and MRSA make it difficult for medical facilities to protect patients and staff against cross contamination. Reducing the risk of infection and maintaining sanitary conditions is a major challenge because every surface can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that each year two million hospital patients contract a Healthcare Associated Infection, costing the hospitals an estimated $45 billion annually and leading to 100,000 patient deaths.*
There have been great advancements in antimicrobial surface technology that can help reduce patient and staff exposure to dangerous microorganisms.
Why do Healthcare Facilities Need Antimicrobial Treated Products?
Surfaces such as handrails, door handles, and medical devices are touched by both patients and staff. These surfaces can be a significant health risk as they serve as transfer sites for contagions. However, antimicrobial-treated surfaces can suppress the growth of microorganisms and limit the transmission of harmful microbes. This helps reduce patient and staff exposure to various bacteria and viruses and lowers the risk of a Healthcare Associated Infection. Using silver-based antimicrobials further reduces risks for staff because of the low toxicity versus the abrasive chemical cleaners.
How Do Silver-Based Antimicrobials Work?
Antimicrobial-treated products can utilize a variety of options for the antimicrobial agent such as ammonium compounds or chlorhexidine. Silver is one of the most popular antimicrobial agents as it is highly regarded for its proven effectiveness for inhibiting the growth of harmful microbes. The antimicrobial properties of silver have been known and used for centuries and Ancient Egyptians used silver pitchers to purify their water. Currently, silver is used in many medical devices such as catheters as well as for wound care. In antimicrobial surface technology, special silver-containing zeolite works with the moisture in the air, causing a continuous release of silver ions that inhibit the growth and respiration of cell membranes. Interfering with cell growth then limits the build-up of bacteria between cleanings.
How Can Silver-Based Antimicrobial Products Be Used in Healthcare Facilities?
A scale is touched by multiple patients and staff on a daily basis, which can potentially transfer germs and expose patients to contagions. If a surface is antimicrobial, it can help reduce bacteria on the scale and limit patients’ contact with dangerous microorganisms.
Antimicrobial technology is a rapidly evolving science and the healthcare industry will soon see a drastic increase in antimicrobial products. Paired with regular cleaning with a mild soap and good hand hygiene procedures, antimicrobial treated products can be powerful weapons in the fight against Healthcare Associated Infections.