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Has Covid-19 changed health and safety in Care Homes for the better?

Health and safety in Care homes was thrust into this pandemic while residents and staff were forced to shield and isolate to protect themselves and their families.

We’ve asked untrained workers to deliver clinical levels of environmental hygiene without the right education, tools or precise government guidance on how to effectively clean and disinfect care homes. All while the deadliest pandemic in generations rages on.

It’s time for owners to step up and protect the workforce who’ve jumped into the firing line. Employees, residents and their families suffered enough through the disastrous handling of the early stages of the virus.

Investment into the best validated technologies and appropriate training to bridge the skills gap is the minimum we should expect from care home owners.

The burden of responsibly is shifting

Tesco’s decision to move cleaning responsibilities inhouse represents a growing trend where businesses and institutions are demanding their untrained staff to provide expert cleaning services, rather than outside contractors.

Care homes house the most vulnerable of our population, so limiting foot traffic in and out of the building mitigates the risks of transmission. Asking employees to shoulder the cleaning regime burden is a natural step. But we need to bridge the skills gap before staff can confidently and correctly clean and disinfect surfaces and entire areas.

Choosing in the best validated technologies with comprehensive training is the only path forward for making sure health and safety in care homes is first rate.

People are often fooled into believing the best translates into expensive, which falls far short of the truth. The harmful side effect of this fallacy is the sacrifice of quality when investing in technology. In these times, we cannot afford this behaviour.

There’s no excuse for failing to adjust to the new normal of gold standard cleaning regimes, especially considering the nature of care homes, their vulnerable residents and the revolving door shared with hospitals.

Make Health and Safety in Care Homes on par with healthcare facilities

Residents travel to hospitals for treatment then head straight back to the home, which increases the chances of cross-contamination. Hospitals should be the most cleaned buildings in the country. Yet, until now, the standards of hygiene care homes must achieve remained vastly different.

We have formulated strict cleaning regimes into hospitals as patients are sick, vulnerable and high-risk. Residents in care homes fall into at least one of those categories and often all three, so we must view these homes through the same lens. We must strive to achieve the gold standard of cleaning with the best validated technologies and treat care homes like the healthcare settings they are.

Lack of basic knowledge forces costly mistakes

A quick Google search into care home cleaning gives you a troubling insight where the focus lies. Top results for care home cleaning show bleach, chlorine tablets, disinfectant wipes, detergent wipes, mops, etc. While these products can play important roles in the overall process, our propensity to reach for the chemicals and spray before understanding the basics of good cleaning will force costly mistakes.

One study by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that over two-thirds of soap buckets and 93% of sampled cleaning towels in US hospitals harboured bacteria. Statistics like this show how poor education, practices and tools can exacerbate the danger to residents in care homes, especially when hospitals should represent the best environmental hygiene standards. 

Validated technology 1 - Dry Steam Vapour

OspreyDeepclean has dedicated twenty years into engineering and testing the best validated technologies on the market. We’ve created our dry steam vapour range to tackle bacteria and viruses on three fronts with thermal and chemical disinfection and decontamination. Through the mechanical action of surface penetration and extraction, it eliminates all contaminants.

Our mix of super-heated dry steam and disinfectant destroys 99.99% of bacteria and viruses, including the enveloped SARS CoV-2.

Manual disinfection, especially by untrained employees, is susceptible to mistakes that can have deadly consequences in care homes. Our technology eliminates these issues and aids the provision of the safest possible environments for residents and staff.

Validated technology 2 – HEPA filter vacuums

OspreyDeepclean’s HEPA filtration vacuum cleaners are one of the most effective validated technologies available. As an acronym for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, true HEPA filters must be tested against a specific standard that ensures quality and reliability. It captures at least 99.97% of particles from the air, down to at least 0.03 microns.

NASA published a study that proved even better results, showing that HEPA filters can catch ultrafine particles down to 0.01 microns, which falls squarely into the range of the SARS-COV-2 particle size of 0.125, as well all other virus particulates. These statistics highlight HEPA standard filters extraordinary efficacy and their guaranteed effectiveness in care homes.

Standard everyday vacuum cleaners are designed to suck up visible dust and debris. They’re not designed to capture microscopic particles, invisible to the naked eye. Instead, these vacuums unsettle these particles, which might include infectious organisms thriving underneath biofilms, and blasts them back into the air through the motor exhaust filter.

HEPA filters are often reserved for industries that demand high air quality like aerospace, nuclear power and hospitals. But that shouldn’t be the case. Price point differences between standard and validated technologies are minimal and inconsequential when you consider the results. Affordable, easy to use technology is readily available on the market.

Combine two validated technologies into one machine

OspreyDeepclean has engineered validated technologies that tested and met the most stringent of European standards. Our dry steam vacuum range, that combines dry steam vapour and water based HEPA filters, are depended on by UK hospitals to stop the spread of diseases and viruses.

Instead of relying on mechanical filters, this validated technology utilises water. As the wastewater tank fills, the liquid acts as a filter medium and captures particles moving through the airstream. It offers you the most cost-effective method of achieving results you’d expect from the highest specification HEPA filters.

One of the biggest advantages of this technology lies in the waste removal procedure that saves considerable time and money while providing an environmentally friendly solution that prevents cross-contamination.

Once your staff leaves the room after cleaning and disinfecting surfaces to create infection-free zones, safe for everybody who enters, they empty the tank, which takes less than one minute. Rather than removing, disposing of and then replacing HEPA filter bags, you simply empty the waste tank and move onto the next room.

Comprehensive testing is imperative to prove effectiveness

OspreyDeepclean has now received the Expert Opinion from the Institute for Hygiene & Microbiology in Bremen, Germany, that the Steam & Vac Pro model achieves a greater than 5-log reduction against modified Ankara, based on EN 16615.

In Europe, the modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) represents the official surrogate test virus for all enveloped viruses including Sars-Cov-1 and Sars-Cov-2 and all human influenza viruses.

The steam cleaner S&V Pro was examined with two passing processes at a speed of 20cm/second at room temperature and under dirty conditions with a standard 10 min. incubation time.

The latest Expert Opinion underlines the ground-breaking research the company embarked upon some 10 years ago with its TNO/UCLH study for validating the efficacy of dry steam for the safe removal of harmful pathogens from the hospital environment.

The time to step up is now

Now we’re faced with this pandemic and the path of destruction it continues to lay throughout our care home system, it’s time for owners and industry leaders to step up and invest in validated technologies. We can’t afford to experiment when untrained staff are asked to deliver clinical cleaning regimes, especially when the lives of our most vulnerable citizens are on the line. 

At OspreyDeepclean, we’ve dedicated 20 years to engineering the most innovative and cutting-edge technology to help tackle the spread of viral transmissions like SARS-COV-2. Tested in healthcare settings and used in hospitals, our technology can help you provide environmentally safe care homes as we fight to exist alongside this dangerous virus.

Our SteamCare range is designed with healthcare professionals in mind and our Robby Steam&Vac is great for maintaining hygienic standards of housekeeping.

 OspreyDeepclean technology has been adopted by EnviroSmart Applied Technologies as the principal evidence-based method for detailed surface decontamination, removing residues and dry biofilm containing microorganisms, prior to application of the ‘EnviroGuard’ antimicrobial surface treatment. A system which provides assurance of safe clean surfaces and on-going protection from recontamination and cross-contamination to  hands, providing a protective barrier to touch and contact surfaces to mitigate infection risk.

Working in collaboration with specialist technology companies and Healthcare equipment providers, OspreyDeepclean and EnviroSmart Technologies have advanced the performance standards and training assurance to support Care Home maintain safe clean healthcare environments and highest levels of environmental and patient safety.

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