Think about enhancing safety and improving infection control and thoughts quickly turn to hand washing. But what if it’s your sinks that are a large part of the problem?
Increasing sink numbers might sound like the right thing to do – encouraging cleanliness – but in truth, you could just be adding to the problem!
Here the ONVO team take a look closer look at how sinks can pose a health hazard and why investing in the right design – such as the innovative Cliniwash – can make all the difference to staff and patient safety.
Sinks linked to outbreaks of infection
Keeping hands clean reduces the risk of transmission – making sinks and handwashing undeniably the first line of defence when it comes to infection control.
This is true of any setting but particularly relevant in the healthcare sector. Hospital guidelines the world over stress the importance and focus strongly on ensuring a minimum ratio of sinks to beds. However, research into 152 intensive care units discovered that hospital sinks can be a hot spot for pathogens, uncovering that basins in patients’ rooms were associated with a much higher number of hospital-acquired infections per day. A disturbing connection which has been proven, time and time again over recent years.
So, whilst our understanding of good hand hygiene has massively improved – particularly in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic – it seems it’s time to raise awareness around the handwashing facilities themselves.
Why hospital sinks are a potential problem
There are multiple factors guilty of increasing the issues with clinical basins. Not least the obvious fact that healthcare settings are naturally exposed to more germs and bacteria with unwell patients and a large number of staff and visitors.
With traditional sinks, the potential for transmission of these germs is greatly increased with multiple dirt traps and joints around the basin and pipework for them to hide.
In fact, one of the biggest threats in a hospital setting is biofilms.
Biofilms can occur anywhere there is moisture, bacteria, and a solid surface to adhere to – making the pipework of hospital sinks extremely high risk.
In simple terms, they are bacteria and microorganisms, which join forces. Sticking to each other, and a hard surface, they form a slimy outer shell – this protects the bacteria beneath, allowing it to develop and reproduce.
The danger is, once present, biofilms can prove very difficult to remove. A simple rinsing and gentle wash that may have removed the individual ‘free-floating’ bacteria, will have no impact – making it essential to prevent them from forming in the first instance.
Who is at risk?
Staff, patients, visitors, and any individual who uses the sink are potentially put at risk, although, the biggest threat is usually to patients. People who are already sick, have had an operation, or are frail will have a compromised immune system, increasing their vulnerability to picking up germs.
How to improve safety
Handwashing is essential – making the provision of sinks also essential. So the solution here is to make them safer.
The easiest way to do this?
Invest in the Cliniwash.
Intended to eliminate the dirt traps found with traditional sinks and massively enhance hygiene standards. This is a sink which has evolved from relentless testing and research to meet the needs and demands of handwashing facilities in clinical environments.
As the most advanced medical sink available, it is the first-ever seamless handwashing unit. Designed in one complete piece, the back panel flows straight into the basin – eliminating areas for water or germs to collect. And a copper piping swivel system provides access to otherwise hidden pipework.
The seamless design means that cleaning the sink and ensuring higher levels of sanitation is not only easier – it’s faster. Which has a positive knock-on effect across the rest of the setting, freeing up time for additional cleaning in other areas.
Boost defences with Cliniwash
Prevent the solution from becoming the problem, with the revolutionary Cliniwash designed to actively prevent the spread of bacteria and disease.
Visit our Cliniwash page to find out more or to chat in detail, why not get in touch?