Right now there is a lot of attention being given to a group of bacteria called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). There have been two outbreaks reported by news outlets so far. FIrst, there was an outbreak at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center linked to procedures with a contaminated endoscope resulting in two deaths and possibly many more infections. More recently, there was an outbreak at the Carolinas HealthCare System where 18 people this year have been reported with CRE.
Today's post will look at the team in the trenches, the boots on the ground, the hands-on technicians: Environmental Services.
By their very nature, hospitals both serve the most vulnerable people and host the most powerful germs. How do hospitals maintain safe levels of cleanliness in this challenging environment? The short answer is through rigorous planning and meticulous staff, all being organized into a myriad of activities and schedules by the conductor of this symphony, infection control. Let's take a closer look at the behind-the-scenes orchestration through two very important teams.
While the general population may use terms like sterilizer, disinfectant and sanitizer interchangeably, they actually have very specific definitions according to the government agency that regulates them, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These definitions include what percentage of pathogens must be killed, in what specific amount of time they must be killed, and what protocols must be tested to achieve registration. All of these parameters are defined by the EPA and are not chosen or designated by the manufacturer.