The fight against healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in hospitals has spread into a new arena. A new study looks into how floors are also responsible for spreading pathogens, and are a big part of the “chain of infection” that is spread throughout healthcare facilities.

According to this recent Cleaning & Maintenance Management article, cleaning staff washed the floors of occupied patient rooms using quaternary ammonium-based disinfectant only when they were visibly soiled or when a patient was discharged.

From there, the researchers then took cultured samples off the floor to check them for pathogens, and found traces of C. diff on the floors, along with methicillin resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE).

Typically, the use of ammonium-based disinfectants leave many residual odors that smell like cleaning chemicals. In response to this study, many Hospital Environmental Services (EVS) professionals and cleaning staff will likely seek out even stronger floor cleaning solutions – causing these odors to increase even further.

Residual odors from bleach, hydrogen peroxide and other chemicals can otherwise compromise a clean and healthful environment. These odors can also have a negative business impact. For example, cleaning and maintenance product odors can significantly delay the transition of a hospital room from one patient to the next. This delay can extend from 24 to 48 hours, thus resulting in lost revenue.

As highlighted in this Health Facilities Management article authored by OMI Industries, eco-friendly odor mitigation solutions like Fresh Wave IAQ are ideal for use simultaneously or immediately following the application of cleaning, disinfecting, and/or maintenance chemical products.

For example, one hospital system in the U.S. Northwest uses the Fresh Wave IAQ M130 Vapor Phase Unit, which disperses Fresh Wave IAQ Air & Surface Liquid odor eliminating solution, for quickly eliminating residual harsh chemical odors from floor stripping activities.

The M130 proved to be a highly effective solution, and resulted in dramatically reducing odor complaints from staff, patients, and visitors. The hospital has also been able to use the units while the staff works (during regular business hours) — cutting down on labor costs while helping to expedite room turnover.

Based on this new research, the fight against HAIs in hospitals will continue to become more challenging. Fortunately, EVS professionals can embrace the strongest floor cleaning solutions possible – without having to deal with residual cleaning and chemical odors.

If you are an EVS professional and would like to learn more about Fresh Wave IAQ, please contact us here.