Today, it is not uncommon that a patient getting admitted for a particular ailment, gets treatment for another ailment contracted while at the hospital due to lack of hygiene. Yet, maintaining cleaning standards is still not given the topmost priority. Mohana M enumerates how intelligent cleaning practices can bring about a difference in a special report on Saifee Hospital, Mumbai
Cleanliness is subjective; it is all the more so in India where keeping clean is directly related to the ability, affordability and willingly of an entity or establishment to do so. Speaking of cleanliness from a common man’s perspective, for a person who does not get direct water supply at home, taking a sponge bath every day still means clean than not taking bath at all. In certain strata of the society, even if clothes are worn for several days without washing, it is considered normal. Over a period of time, even dirty clothes seem okay, as it becomes the way of life. These very people also make their way to the hospital as patients or as visitors.
“Leave alone the common man wearing unwashed clothes, has anyone found out when was the last time our good doctor washed his tie? Well, it is much more contaminated than the medical garbage bag hanging on a nursing trolley in the ICU!”, opines Huzaifa Shehabi, Chief Operating Officer.
Saifee Hospital, a multi-speciality hospital, has cleaning practices ingrained in every process.
While there is no one single common solution to tackling infection, there are many studies on this subject providing solutions. But one needs to adapt it to suit the local circumstances. “It is important to understand the people and their way of life, to fit in solutions suggested by various studies,” explains Huzaifa Shehabi.
“Even if simple hand washing practices are adhered to or implemented effectively, there will be at least 25% dip in infection related cases. It will also result in reduction of resistant infection. A spec of infection left behind due to improper washing of hand can spread from one person to another. The more the infection is passed on, the more the increase of resistant protypes.”
“I am a regular reader of Clean India Journal and the topics discussed and information provided give insight into the systems that need to be adapted and more importantly implemented correctly.”
– Huzaifa Shehabi
Similarly, adopting solutions intelligently can help control of infection. Every hospital wears an odour which instantly hits our nostrils. “One will find no odour of disinfectant while entering Saifee. In fact, it will not feel like an hospital but just another building, as the disinfectants being used by us are odourless and highly effective.”
One of the main channels of spread of infection is the air-conditioning system. “However, by increasing the air changes, the quality of air can be maintained. With this system, a certain cusecs air is flushed out of the building and sucked into the system, treated, cooled and then again flushed back into the building. Yes, this process could increase the energy bill but this method restricts spread of infection. Imagine the OT, where so many of the patients are opened up for surgery and the different concoctions of antibiotics and bacteria are circulating in the air at every 50ft or so. The number of strains of bacteria that are looming around can be cleared with frequent air changes.”
Right from the flooring to the kind of mopping required have been well-planned and implemented at Saifee. “I am a regular reader of Clean India Journal and the topics discussed and information provided give insight into the systems that need to be adapted and more importantly implemented correctly,” he adds.
“The science of disinfecting is not dependant on what chemical is costly or cheap but is dependent on what is being used, at what concentration and how it is being used. It is a matter of what kind of chemicals one uses. Similarly, what is the cycle of the mop being used and so on. This is exactly what I am taking care of. The cost may be a little higher but the success story is that in the last one decade we have not had to change any product.” Due to bacteria resistance, many are forced to change disinfectants but at Saifee the same disinfectant is still in use.
Enumerating more examples, Huzaifa Shehabi said that there is a tendency in many organisations to treat certain areas of the building like below the staircase, with cheaper chemicals. People pass through that area and carry the infection through their clothes up the stairs, touching the railing… thus spreading infection. Hence, through intelligent practices of using one single chemical for treating the entire premises uniformly, can curb infection and ensure that the premise is maintained clean and hygienic.
As a general practice, spring cleaning is done on a daily basis and deep cleaning is taken up on weekends in most organisations. This probably is also defined as best cleaning practices. However, can these same practices be applied to a hospital and still be called the best? Probably, not.
Two of the core departments that are directly related to maintaining cleanliness and implementing hygiene practices are the housekeeping and the CSSD.