The care sector and NHS need to prepare for what many believe will be a difficult winter with the potential double whammy of flu and Covid. This means that over the next few warm Summer weeks, there is no time to lose in reviewing infection prevention and control processes and procedures across the whole of the care home. This review should start with the sluice room; surely the epicentre of many an outbreak but also the solution to preventing an infection from taking hold. A well laid out sluice room with staff who have been trained on the equipment supported by a service contract will help to make sure your care home is safe this winter.
Preparation can avert infection in care homes
Start from the beginning when reviewing infection prevention and control in the sluice room. Careful planning and design of the sluice room, how staff utilise the space and the workflow patterns within the sluice room will reduce the infection risk to residents and will keep staff safe. Reviewing the procedures to minimise cross contamination pays dividends when reducing the infection risk. The golden rule is clear, anyone or anything entering the sluice room leaves the sluice room clean, disinfected and ready for reuse. Single-use equipment has its place but we believe in reusing equipment wherever possible without compromising on staff safety or infection risk. This helps both the budget and the planet as there are no hidden costs with our reuseable equipment including bedpans, commode pots and urine bottles.
At Standbridge, we work with all our clients on ensuring that the design of their sluice is optimized for the job. If you are building a new sluice room from scratch or just reviewing how current machines might be updated then our team is on hand with advice based upon best practice. Over the years we have built up long term relationships within the NHS and care sector which are based on trust and with Stanbridge being considered to be an extension of the in-house team - making sure that the job gets done on time and to budget.
Our decades of experience in supplying equipment to the NHS and the care home sector gives us the necessary specialist expertise and knowledge. Our team is able to recommend which equipment is necessary such as the inclusion of a slop hopper and our reliable bedpan washers as well as advice on how much space is necessary for storage of clean equipment and staff handwashing facilities. We pride ourselves on making sure that the solution for the design of your sluice room meets the requirements but does not break the budget - we recommend no more than you absolutely need. The right equipment in the right location is fit for purpose and up to the job. Equipment which is designed to last and can be repaired by our team of service engineers.
Making Sure that the equipment is maintained
There are over 100 viruses, including Covid-19, which can result from human waste. Containing and removing these types of viruses before they take hold is best managed within a sluice room. The pathogens stopped in their tracks through safe, hygienic disposal.
Taking working machines for granted is easy to do when they seem to be working normally. However, even if a machine seems to be working there are infection risks if machines do not get to 80 degrees for over a minute. It is only then that 99% of all known viruses and bacteria are neutralised. We recommend that as part of your care home procedures the 1 minute test is carried out every week in the sluice room. A simple tick box that the bedpan washer has been at 80 degrees for at least a minute means that you can be certain that the microbes and bacteria which can start a potentially devastating wave of infection are offset.
If for some reason the machine is not up to temperature then a quick call to the service engineers will mean that the problem can be swiftly solved when it is convenient for you and your team - emergency call outs are never ideal. At the same time as our engineers are checking the temperatures, they will routinely check the equipment to make sure that all is working efficiently. This will ensure that the sluice room machines are disposing of all waste effectively. This will help to prevent pipe blockages and other maintenance issues further down the road which can be much more costly.
Faults and problems with machines always seem to occur at the most inconvenient times. At Stanbridge, our team is on hand to maintain your machines whenever and wherever necessary. As we manufacture solely in the UK, we are not reliant on supply chain issues that have been exacerbated by both Covid and Brexit and so spare parts are always readily available to make sure that your care home is not having to wash equipment by hand which clearly can compromise care home safety and raise infection risks.
How to maintain infection control in the sluice room?
- 1 minute weekly temperature test
- Have a service contract in place to avoid preventable malfunctions
- Sluice room infection control audit with the Stanbridge team to ensure safe workflow within the sluice room so that hazardous waste is disposed of effectively maintaining infection control risks.
A well-planned sluice room where equipment is maintained and staff trained in equipment use will be at the heart of keeping infection under control in the care home sector this winter. To find out more about how Stanbridge can assist with the infection control protocols in your sluice room please get in touch.