15 Jun MRSA Decontamination
There’s been a lot of talk in the news about the prevalence of MRSA in hospital environments
Superbugs have become the scourge of the National Health System, costing NHS resources and UK taxpayer a fortune. Also, there have been documented fatalities due to superbug outbreaks, and hospital management teams have to be more vigilant than ever about the hygiene procedures they choose to adopt.
At BioDecon, we are often called to MRSA outbreaks. Normally, the first contact we have is with a worried hospital management executive who politely requests we get to the hospital immediately.
In November 2016, we attended one such MRSA outbreak at a Welsh NHS hospital. The hospital had a history of MRSA problems and had recently escalated with infections in clinical operations and several high dependency wards.
Our first visit to NHS Wales
On our first visit to the hospital, we had a consultation with the hospital management and went through the best practice procedures we would usually take in such a situation. The management explained their hospital procedures and the delicate nature of the situation regarding media attention. We agreed on a collaborative way forward so we could co-operate discreetly and professionally, but without the interference of hospital personnel.
What are the priority hospital areas MRSA infected?
The first step was to tackle the priority areas affected by MRSA. This required assessing the clinical operation, to understand the operational requirements of the hospital, and the level of health of the patients. It was decided we would first decontaminate the operating theatre, as there was a gap in the scheduled operations in which we could decontaminate.
We use hydrogen peroxide vapour to sterilise the entire room, ensuring the space was cordoned off and barring entry to anyone other than our staff.
The process of decontamination took a few hours, and following its completion, we were able to validate the sterilisation of the room using enzyme indicators immediately. Our partnership with sister company Portal Scientific, means we have access to new technology that enables us to ascertain the presence of microorganisms quickly. This is a very different process to the standard in the industry, which requires growing biological samples which can take several days.
With the operating theatre sterile to a 6 log level, we then moved on to reducing the infection in the postoperative care unit, which was now practically empty due to the time the operating theatre had been out of action. We moved the few remaining patients into a separate sterile ward and completed the decontamination process in the postoperative care unit as well. Throughout the process, we consulted with hospital management to ensure that hospital policies were being correctly followed, and we documented every step, so there was a record of the hygiene solutions we were delivering. With chemical decontamination, there is often the possibility of latent noxious substances. However, with hydrogen peroxide, this is not the case. Hydrogen peroxide degrades to water in few hours, meaning there are no hazardous materials left, and, if the process has been successful, there were no pathogenic microorganisms either.
Following these clinical areas, we moved onto the high dependency units
These areas had housed people who were very sick and were not fit to be moved, and so we worked strategically around the ward, step-by-step, ensuring the safety of everyone involved, and deep cleaning when necessary. The planning of the cleanup of these departments was critical, as new patients needed to be admitted, and we had to plan our resources, and which areas to complete at which time to complete the decontamination process successfully. We discussed with the management team that we would do a full hydrogen peroxide decontamination as soon as the word could be emptied, but that was not the case at this stage. We returned the following week to decontaminate the room, but our tests before this process found there was no trace of pathogenic microbial populations. At BioDecon, our goal is always to provide the most sterile environment possible in any setting. When MRSA is involved, it is crucial the environment is decontaminated, and there is no secondary outbreak. In this Welsh NHS hospital, we also worked with the management teams to put together a structured programme for ongoing decontamination and deep cleaning, to support their in-house cleaning staff.
Success in combating MRSA and other superbug prevention requires strategic planning. As a specialist chemical decontamination company experienced in decontaminating hospital areas and developing hospital decontamination programmes, we are one of the leading companies the NHS call on when they need an emergency on-call decontamination specialist or a regular hygiene partner. If you want to talk to our experts then get in touch today on 01904 405959 and we will be more than happy to guide and advise you, or come to your site and provide you with a free consultation.