The way we do everything has been under scrutiny since the worldwide pandemic. It has been a time to take a step back from everyday life and consider the impact of each and every activity we undertake.
One of the places where the impact of COVID-19 has been most acutely felt has been the medical facility – particularly hospitals. Modern hospitals have many different departments under one roof. Accident and Emergency rooms are where the most severe cases arrive, before being transferred to other parts of the hospital for treatment. And the way this flow of patients is managed can have a huge impact on managing the transmission of coronavirus and other transmissible diseases. The operating room has become the epicentre of managing transmission. This article looks at how doctors and nurses maintain cleanliness in the operating room.
Limit People: Limit Opportunity
Under pandemic protocols, the operating room has become an inner sanctum. By limiting the number of people in and out of the room, we are able to limit the potential for transmission. It is simple mathematics to say that fewer people in the room equals fewer chances for people to bring infection into the room – and take infection out of the room.
With this, limiting the movement of patients will allow any outbreaks to be contained. It is true in many healthcare systems that routine operations have been either cancelled or scaled back. So, that means the operations carried out are lifesaving and necessary. The pressure on operating rooms is intense. This pressure can be relieved by limiting the movement of people – both hospital staff and patients.
In line with this, there should be a clear route for any patient from entry to the hospital until their exit. Planning how this will happen will enable doctors and nurses to manage a patient’s journey through the hospital in a safe manner.
Linked to the movement of people, is the administration process. In days gone by, paper notes would travel from the records department to the relevant department in the hospital, following the patient around. Modern tech systems allow for these records to be pulled up electronically, managing the administration process quickly and efficiently, while stopping the potential of paper records carrying infection with them.
But this brings its own challenges. Keyboards and touchscreens can harbour viruses if not managed correctly. Antivirus screen protectors, such as those developed by ACLIV can help manage this transmission risk. Handwashing can go a certain part of the way, but innovative solutions can help us with the final part of this journey of protection.
Cleaning Operating Rooms
One of the most crucial elements in protecting operating rooms is the cleanliness factor. This has had an impact on the timing of operations, as more time is needed to ensure a deeper level of cleanliness in the face of the global pandemic. This means that managing the flow of patients becomes even more important. Having people stacked up outside an operating room while cleaning is in progress isn’t beneficial to anyone.
The timelines need to be adjusted to take into account the extra cleaning necessary under COVID-19 protocols. And this is something we should take forward as best practice even when the pandemic has ebbed away. Keeping a cleaner, safer operating room is essential to reducing the risk to the most vulnerable people in the whole hospital.
And, of course, this applies to the cleanliness of the air too. We know that coronaviruses are airborne, entering the lungs of people as well as landing on surfaces. Effective HEPA air filters are necessary to ensure the particles are taken out of the air, creating a safe atmosphere for patients and healthcare staff alike.
The surfaces of an operating room can be exposed to all manner of bodily tissues and fluids as well as the instruments used to successfully operate. And that means all of these surfaces are potential transmitters of a virus or bacteria. When in the operating room, people may be cut open and exposed in many ways. And they are also often vulnerable. These two factors (the risky surfaces and the vulnerable patient) can come together to produce a hazard. And this hazard must be managed effectively to avoid contamination.
And that’s where anti-viral and anti-bacterial protection comes into play. Innovators like ACLIV have set the global standards for Anti-Virus & Anti-Bacterial films that will protect surfaces in the long term at a much lower cost than replacing all the existing surfaces. They have been proven to kill 99.9% of influenza virus including H1N1 and COVID-19 within 30 minutes of contact time. Exposed surfaces remain virus free when tested again at one hour and then at twenty-four hours. The film also kills bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus Aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Salmonella typhimurium within a ten-minute time frame of exposure. These can change the face of the operating room forever.
Negative Pressure Rooms
Negative pressure rooms can help to stunt the transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases because these rooms stop aerosol transmission in the air. The most common cause of transmission is in the air. So, all of the measures to manage the operating room itself are great – they will make a huge difference and save lives. But we also need to consider the air that people are being operated in. Negative pressure rooms could become more the norm in operating room environments, although the cost factors and overall effectiveness of these rooms is still to be fully researched.
Now, the general public may not spend much time considering these aspects of their healthcare. But they are vital to look after the health and safety of all. Healthcare professionals are always adapting to new situations, ensuring that their actions look after all of us. And we at ACLIV are here to salute you. The contribution you make to the benefit of society is to be applauded by all. And we’re here to help.