Here at DoveLewis, we take all things cleaning very seriously. It’s important that every staff member is up to date on our latest cleaning protocols. While it can be time consuming to spend time with each staff member reviewing how to correctly wipe down a counter top or a door handle, the benefits are worth it.
In the U.S. alone, over 2 million human patients a year are affected by nosocomial infections. Nosocomial by definition is an infection that is picked up while the patient is in hospital. Unfortunately for us in vet medicine, we do not have statistics on how many of our patients are going home with something extra. But, if people who can understand to wash their hands and not to touch each other are still being affected in such large numbers, what hope do we have when our patients are trying to lick things off the floor?
A few common cases we see frequently at DoveLewis are Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, and Upper Respiratory Infections (URI). Parvovirus is spread either by direct or indirect exposure to feces containing the virus. This means that dogs can become infected by licking a surface that has been directly contaminated with feces, but also by licking a person, object, or another animal that has had contact with that feces. We as veterinary professionals can carry it home to our own pets on our shoes or hands. Leptospirosis can also be spread by licking contaminated urine or water, and by having either of these splash into the mucous membranes of an open wound. To make matters worse, Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be spread between animals and humans. URI’s are spread just like the human common cold, and can be hard to contain due to most of the contagion being sneezed into the air. Luckily, all three of these common aliments can be reduced by following an effective cleaning routine.
Recently, we started using a new product that allows us to review how well our staff is cleaning certain parts of the hospital. You would be surprised how training staff about the importance of cleaning, can be fun.
Meet Glo Germ.
Glo Germ is a product that, under black light, simulates real germs.
So how do we use it for training?
Step 1. Identify an employee that you want to review their cleaning efficiency with and find an available exam room.
Step 2. Without the employee, spread Glo Germ in areas that are often missed. A few good places would be door handles, light switches, under the exam table, trash can doors, etc. Try sticking to areas that are frequently used and would normally collect the most bacteria.
Step 3. Invite the employee to disinfect the room as they would normally (you do not need to be present for this part). Remind them that this is a training exercise, and if areas as missed there is no harm to them or incoming patients.
*In regular light and if applied correctly, Glo Germ powder will be almost impossible to see. Glo Germ is also harmless, meaning there are no concerns to leaving Glo Germ in the exam room if a patient or client comes in.
Step 4. After the employee is done with their cleaning, return to the room with a black light.
Step 5. Using the black light, review areas of the room where you placed Glo Germ. If the employee properly cleaned the areas, the black light shouldn’t show any remaining Glo Germ. If the employee missed a spot, the Glo Germ will show purple under the black light. Keep track of areas that are commonly missed so your entire team can understand the most contaminated areas in your hospital.
We have seen great responses when using Glo Germ for training, due to the fact that it gives those who are cleaning a physical example of areas they missed. We have been placing Glo Germ on door handles or employees hands, to demonstrate how fast things can become contaminated. Similarly, researchers from the University of Arizona, Tucson, placed a tracer virus on commonly touched objects such as a doorknob or tabletop. The researchers then sampled a range of different surfaces including light switches, bed rails, countertops, sink tap handles, and push buttons. They found that between 40 and 60 percent of the surfaces were contaminated within 2-4 hours. Two hours! For most of us, that’s only 1/5 of our shifts!
Overall, this is a fun and easy way to double check your staff’s cleaning routines! I recommend doing this exercise with new staff, and once a year with current staff. Let us know what other fun tools you use to help enforce protocols at your hospital!
If you are interested in ordering Glo Germ or reading more about the product, visit their website here: http://www.glogerm.com/#