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  • Writer's pictureDavid Lange

To Dispose or Not to Dispose - That is the Question

When I am working with a facility for the first time, my very first question is about their current infection protocol. Does your facility allow you to re-use the bed or chair sensor pads or does your protocol require only disposable pad options? I currently have many customers in both camps and either have pros and cons. All medical facilities want to eliminate healthcare associated infections (HAI's), so this is an issue that needs to be addressed when it comes to fall management products.

Infection protocols vary from one facility to the next. Some facilities have infection control protocol that prevent them from considering re-using bed or chair pads from one patient to the next. Other facilities consider these products to be more like furniture in a patient's room.

In other words, although patient contact and potentially a patient's bodily fluids come into contact with various pieces of furniture, their protocol focuses on the best way to clean and re-use these products. Facilities do not consider chairs to be disposable, they are obviously re-using the chairs and therefore must adequately clean them to mitigate any possible infection-related issues. The Cleveland Clinic is an example of a facility that re-uses sensor pads and therefore focuses on cleaning the pads rather than disposing of them after each patient use.

This blog is directed at facilities who will considering re-using the sensor pads. I have attached a link to a White Paper that specifically discusses Infection Control practices and hospital furniture, particularly chairs. There are several interesting points in the article but in summary regarding chairs and specifically the seams in the chairs require diligent cleaning.

The paper outlines the results from experiements conducted at Antimicrobial Test Laboratories in Round Rock, Texas in 2014 by Dr. Benjamin Grosse-Siestrup, PhD Infectious Diseases. The test involves a commonly-used Cavi Wipe with isopropanol and  a bacterial culture. The result is that almost 99% of the bacteria was removed in the seams of the furniture but it required special attention be paid to those areas. To see the complete results visit: HAI's & Healthcare Furniture

All products offered from Curbell Medical whom I represent have a long list of approved cleaning agents and wipes. Our products can also be easily cleaned for optimal results.

The main benefit to re-using sensor pads of course is cost but you are also eliminating disposable pads and therefore helping the environment by reducing waste. By re-using sensor pads, facilities can potentially save tens of thousands of dollars during a year. We have products to fit either infection protocol approach (disposable or re-usable), and stand ready to support your facility either way.

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