We all have a common interest in ensuring our hospitals are clean & hygienic. The fear of VARS, MRSA, E.coli and similar infections is a great motivator. Accordingly, a lot of effort is dedicated to regular cleaning schedules to keep wards neat and tidy. However, the key question is: how clean are they really?
Cleaning, especially in a hospital environment, is certainly more of a science than an art. Science can also help us determine if something that looks clean, is really clean.
Tools such as ATP testing are routinely used in the catering industry for hygiene monitoring, and these tools are now transferring into other applications.
ATP Swab Testing
ATP swab testing was originally trialled for determining cleanliness in a hospital environment in the UK in 2008. It is also now being used in Ireland.
What is ATP?
ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) is present in all living organisms, and is one of the molecules that provide the energy that cells need for life. The presence of ATP on surfaces is therefore an indication that bacteria or other organic matter is present on the surface.
The more ATP present, the poorer the cleanliness of the surface, and therefore the higher the risk of contamination from contact with that surface.
Nature has provided a natural way of detecting the presence of ATP. In the firefly, ATP is the energy source that fuels the characteristic glow. The firefly uses an enzyme called luciferase to convert the energy contained in ATP into light – a phenomenon known as bioluminescence. ATP swab test kits make use of this to detect the amount of ATP present – the more ATP, the brighter the light, and the higher the test results.
So, what does ATP have to do with our Hospitals? Well, it is the key test for the presence of living organisms: so if we can reduce our ATP levels, we’ll reduce the level of germs and possible infections.
But, we already regularly hoover and clean the wards with microfibre mops.
Yes, but even with those cleaning techniques hospital can still show high levels of ATP
For example, in a large Devon hospital, surveyed just 9 months ago, they found that, even after a the normal cleaning had been done, there was initially over 5,000 RLU of ATP present. However, once they introduced the Contico System, the level of ATP reduced down to about 300RLU a significant and important drop.
The results are dramatic, and provide confidence that not only is the hospital looking visually cleaner, it is actually hygienically cleaner - thanks to the Contico Microfibre System.
Regular re-testing has allowed us to confirm that this new approach is working – not only are the floors now looking clean, everyone can be confident that they are clean.
So, what is the Contico Microfibre System?
Using the New DisDry, DIS50 Mop & Dis3D Washable Mop from Contico
The Graph above shows how the level of germs in a typical hospital dropped from 5,000 down to 300 by using the Contico Microfibre System.
This is a System whereby
1) the ward is first cleaned using a microfibre dry dusting mop. (DisDry) This clears the surface grime.
2) Then a wet micro fibre mop is used. (The wet mop can be either disposable (DIS50 Mop for high risk areas) or semidisposable and washable Dis3D Washable Mop for normal areas).
The key benefit is that independent swab tests show how the level of germs can be further reduced from 5,000 down to only 300.
It is worth noting that the areas when initially tested had already been cleaned with traditional microfibres – and yet still showed 5,000 germs. So, it is evident that Contico’s 2nd generation microfibres are significantly more effective than the 1st generation microfibre solutions offered by many suppliers.
The use of ATP swabbing reflects how hygienically clean as well as visibly clean the hospital actually is. This reduction in germs was achieved using the Contico 2nd Generation Microfibre System. For this reason JBS Group suggests that hospitals trying to pursue the HIQA ideals should trial the Contico system
For further information, contact JBS at:-
JBS, Milltown Business Park, Milltown, Monaghan, Ireland (No postcode)
M: +353 86 8213722 Ph: + 353 47 76500 Fx: + 353 47 76501