FacilityCare September 2009 : Page 24

Cutting-Edge Touchless Cleaning Technology Aids in Wheelchair Cleanliness ICS 8900 improves the cleanliness of often-neglected patient-mobility equipment By Bill Taylor P enny Handshaw is a certified Doctor of Physical Therapy employed as director of reha- bilitation services at Wishard Health Services in Indianapolis, Ind., where she oversees the facility’s physical, occupational and speech therapy departments. That’s enough to keep her busy on a day-to-day basis, but last fall she unwittingly added a second title to her job description – “agent of change.” “I made the mistake of complaining about the poor condition of the wheelchairs at the hospital, and they put me in charge of finding a solution,” she chuckled. Handshaw didn’t think the wheel- chairs were clean enough, especially for use in a healthcare environment. And after doing some digging around, she came to the conclusion that there was no system in place at Wishard that addressed their level of cleanliness or spelled out a regular wheelchair clean- ing schedule. “Given the fact that we have patients and visitors using our wheelchairs on an ongo- ing basis, you don’t always know who’s been in them last,” she explained, “and given what’s going on in the country today (with the spread of MRSA and swine flu), it’s a good idea to sanitize the wheelchairs on a more regular basis.” With that in mind, Handshaw rounded up 220 of the hospital’s 250 wheelchairs last fall and gave them a thorough cleaning, for many the first deep cleaning they had received in months. “We were using pressure washes; we were using scrub brushes; we rented a wheel- chair washing machine,” Handshaw said. “Over a two-day period we cleaned 220 of them. It was a massive project involving dozens of people.” 24 | FACILITYCARE facilitycare.com The Next Step Now that the wheelchairs had received a thorough cleaning and sanitizing, Handshaw knew the next step was develop- ing a regimen that would allow them to be cleaned on a regular basis. “We looked at a number of different options,” she said. “Purchasing a wheel- chair washing machine was too expensive, and it wasn’t particularly mobile; we have a rather large campus with a number of dif- ferent buildings, and it wasn’t practical to move around.” After consulting with Wishard’s director of environmental services, Handshaw learned about the ICS 8900 touchless clean- ing system from Cincinnati, Ohio-based Hydro Systems. “The folks from Hydro Systems loaned me the equipment for a month, and we real- ly liked it,” Handshaw said. “It was a much easier way to keep the wheelchairs clean and sanitized.” Because the ICS unit was a portable, easy- to-maneuver cleaning system, it fit Handshaw’s needs. The low-flow design used only half a gallon of cleaning solution per minute, eliminating the need for wet/dry-vac recovery and the handling of contaminated water, while reducing the slip-and-fall risk. Handshaw quickly found that the chemi- cals did the cleaning, not high pressure. The select-valve technology ensured that cleaning and sanitizing chemicals were correctly dosed every time, effectively and consistently killing germs and toxins. The low pressure (less than 100 psi) protected cleaning sur- faces from water damage and eliminated the spray-back of bacteria-contaminated water. The ICS helped increase infection control without creating a lot of extra work for the cleaning staff. SEPTEMBER 2009 FACILITY SOLUTIONS

Facility Solutions

Bill Taylor

Cutting-Edge Touchless Cleaning Technology Aids in Wheelchair Cleanliness<br /> <br /> Penny Handshaw is a certified Doctor of Physical Therapy employed as director of rehabilitation services at Wishard Health Services in Indianapolis, Ind., where she oversees the facility’s physical, occupational and speech therapy departments. That’s enough to keep her busy on a day-to-day basis, but last fall she unwittingly added a second title to her job description – “agent of change.” “I made the mistake of complaining about the poor condition of the wheelchairs at the hospital, and they put me in charge of finding a solution,” she chuckled.<br /> <br /> Handshaw didn’t think the wheelchairs were clean enough, especially for use in a healthcare environment. And after doing some digging around, she came to the conclusion that there was no system in place at Wishard that addressed their level of cleanliness or spelled out a regular wheelchair cleaning schedule.<br /> <br /> “Given the fact that we have patients and visitors using our wheelchairs on an ongoing basis, you don’t always know who’s been in them last,” she explained, “and given what’s going on in the country today (with the spread of MRSA and swine flu), it’s a good idea to sanitize the wheelchairs on a more regular basis.” With that in mind, Handshaw rounded up 220 of the hospital’s 250 wheelchairs last fall and gave them a thorough cleaning, for many the first deep cleaning they had received in months.<br /> <br /> “We were using pressure washes; we were using scrub brushes; we rented a wheelchair washing machine,” Handshaw said. “Over a two-day period we cleaned 220 of them. It was a massive project involving dozens of people.” <br /> <br /> The Next Step <br /> <br /> Now that the wheelchairs had received a thorough cleaning and sanitizing, Handshaw knew the next step was developing a regimen that would allow them to be cleaned on a regular basis.<br /> <br /> “We looked at a number of different options,” she said. “Purchasing a wheelchair washing machine was too expensive, and it wasn’t particularly mobile; we have a rather large campus with a number of different buildings, and it wasn’t practical to move around.” After consulting with Wishard’s director of environmental services, Handshaw learned about the ICS 8900 touchless cleaning system from Cincinnati, Ohio-based Hydro Systems.<br /> <br /> “The folks from Hydro Systems loaned me the equipment for a month, and we really liked it,” Handshaw said. “It was a much easier way to keep the wheelchairs clean and sanitized.” Because the ICS unit was a portable, easyto- maneuver cleaning system, it fit Handshaw’s needs. The low-flow design used only half a gallon of cleaning solution per minute, eliminating the need for wet/dry-vac recovery and the handling of contaminated water, while reducing the slip-and-fall risk.<br /> <br /> Handshaw quickly found that the chemicals did the cleaning, not high pressure. The select-valve technology ensured that cleaning and sanitizing chemicals were correctly dosed every time, effectively and consistently killing germs and toxins. The low pressure (less than 100 psi) protected cleaning surfaces from water damage and eliminated the spray-back of bacteria-contaminated water.<br /> <br /> The ICS, using 50 percent less water and chemicals when compared with many other automated cleaning systems, was also kind to the environment. Handshaw and the cleaning staff noted its simple operation that only required filling the unit’s 12-gallon water tank, selecting any of up to four different chemicals to be dispensed (or any four dilution ratios when cleaning with single- product cleaning chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide) and applying the cleaning solution with the low-flow/lowpressure spray nozzle. There was also an optional foaming nozzle available to clean surfaces where chemicals need longer dwell time to deliver maximum cleaning effectiveness.<br /> <br /> Reaping the Benefits <br /> <br /> After only a few months of use, Handshaw was convinced that the ICS 8900 was the solution to the challenge of keeping the wheelchairs clean, with a long list of ancillary benefits. First and foremost, Handshaw conducted ATP testing on a number of the wheelchairs and found that using the ICS to clean them reduced the bioload on them by an average of 82 percent.<br /> <br /> ATP testing detects the presence of adenosine triphosphate, which is present in all organic material. A high level of ATP on a surface may indicate elevated levels of bacteria. The reduction in ATP levels after using the ICS shows that the unit is helping get the wheelchairs cleaner than traditional cleaning methods.<br /> <br /> “The ATP testing clearly indicates that the ICS cleaning process reduced the biologic material on the wheelchairs significantly, a good indicator of general hygiene,” said Handshaw. “The ICS system was just as effective at this as using larger commercial wheelchair washers, which we tried in the fall of 2008. However, ATP testing is not necessarily indicative of microbial load and is not a substitute for culturing. It would be interesting to do before and after culturing on the wheelchairs, but this would be an expensive and time-consuming process.” In addition to the proven elevation in cleanliness levels, cleaning the wheelchairs has also become much more efficient with the ICS.<br /> <br /> “Compared to the wheelchair cleaning machine we originally used, we can clean twice as many wheelchairs in the same amount of time,” she said. “Another benefit of it is that we can use hospital-approved disinfectants in the equipment, rather than having to buy the chemicals the manufacturer recommends for the other equipment.” Handshaw also said her staff took to the operation of the ICS units in no time at all. “It’s pretty intuitive equipment,” she said. “The staff likes the interchangeable nozzles, and when they push the unit through the halls, other people say it’s ‘cute,’ and they’re happy to see my people coming.”<br /> <br /> The ICS unit’s ease of use has also increased the efficiency of the cleaning staff, since no one person needs to be dedicated solely to wheelchair cleaning. “They try to squeeze out an hour or two a day to clean the wheelchairs,” she said.<br /> <br /> “With the ICS they can do eight to 10 wheelchairs a day, depending on where they’re going, where the chairs are located and what other tasks they have.” These days, most facilities are paying greater attention to their cleaning regimens as they relate to green cleaning, namely cleaning that takes the needs of the environment as a whole into consideration, as well as how the cleaning practices and chemicals used affect the population that comes into contact with them. The ICS has benefited Wishard Health Services in its green-cleaning initiatives, as well.<br /> <br /> “I know that we are concerned about waste, and the product really helps us not to overutilize the sanitizing agents,” said Handshaw. perly diluted chemicals and a reduction in water usage, other green benefits offered by the ICS include a reduction in noise pollution due to its near-silent operation, reduced energy consumption due to its rechargeable battery, a reduction in airborne particulates and a reduction in physical stress on workers.<br /> <br /> Conclusion<br /> <br /> The goal of any hospital is to provide the best care in the best atmosphere possible. That not only includes the cleanliness of patient and operating rooms, but cleanlinessin the ancillary ways that patients interact with the facility—such as when they use a wheelchair.<br /> <br /> Since implementing a regular wheelchair-cleaning regime, which not only includes use of the ICS unit, but also the regular cleaning of the seats and armrests with sanitizing wipes between patient use, Handshaw has not only received positive feedback from the patients – “Some of the old-time patients have noticed that our chairs look better,” she said – but she has helped create peace of mind in knowing that not only do the chairs look better, they actually are cleaner.<br /> <br /> “Prior to my involvement, the wheelchairs didn’t get cleaned until somebody noticed they were dirty,” she said. “No, we have a system where at least once a month they get sanitized with the ICS equipment.<br /> <br /> The wheels and the underside and everything that doesn’t normally get wiped down gets sanitized at least once a month.” Through her assertiveness and research Handshaw has made Wishard Health Services a cleaner place for its patients, visitors and staff.

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