Home from the Hospital: Making the Home a Safe Space Against Infection
Halosil Blog

Timely insights on whole room disinfection.

HospitalsSeptember 4, 2019

Home from the Hospital: Making the Home a Safe Space Against Infection

by David St. Clair, Chairman and CFO, Halosil International

While infection prevention and control is widely emphasized in healthcare settings like clinics and hospitals, it is often disregarded or underutilized in home care environments. The lack of infection control focus inside the home is largely due to limited data on the incidence of home-care acquired infections, the associated risk factors, and prevention and control measures. According to the 2010 national Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) data, 3.5% of 199,462 patients developed infections during home care that resulted in emergency care treatment or hospitalization, and 17% of unplanned hospitalizations among home care health patients were caused by infections.

Consequently, when it’s time for immunocompromised or vulnerable patients to come home from the hospital for recovery or continued in-home treatment, the risks of contracting a dangerous infection are as prevalent as ever. Neglecting the risk of infection present in the home environment can result in a trip back to the hospital, or in extreme cases, death. After all, the average U.S. home can house dangerous fungi and bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Wallemia sebi, which can lead to severe illness. Since the number of patients who receive home care has grown substantially in the past decade, it is more important than ever to bring proper disinfection to the home environment.

When a patient makes the move from the hospital to his or her home environment, it’s critical to take disinfection just as seriously as in the clinical setting. Following are some tips to ensure a safe, infection-free recovery:

1. Create Systems of Surveillance

Although a lack of valid data on the incidence of home-care acquired infections adds a layer of ambiguity when developing whole room disinfection plans for this setting, creating systems of surveillance can help. When surveilling the home for infectious threats, it is critical to acknowledge the difference in available resources between a home and hospital setting. For instance, while a hospital has labs and diagnostic tests at its disposal to test for infections and pathogens, a home setting does not. This further underscores the importance of prevention in the home setting, as well as proactive monitoring for overt symptoms of infection.

An appropriate surveillance system can be constructed and executed using three primary steps. First, the medical chart of the homeward-bound patient should be examined in order to identify predispositions to specific infection risks, such as when dealing with immunocompromised individuals. Second, the home care provider should survey for changes in the environment that could encourage a potential infection, such as dirtied living areas that are shared with other household guests who are sick, and damp, moldy, or dusty areas close to the patient. Finally, the home care provider should remain vigilant for clinical signs and symptoms of infection in the patient to support early intervention.

2. Identify High-Contact Surfaces That Require Disinfection

When surveying the patient’s home environment and identifying potential risks for infection, home care providers should note high-contact surfaces in need of regular disinfection. Typical high-touch surfaces that can house dangerous pathogens and lead to infection are often shared with other house members who regularly go outside of the home care environment, bringing back germs that can then infect the patient. Such surfaces include doorknobs, furniture, walls, office supplies, floors, phones, light switches, and shared electronics. Other high-touch surfaces are germane to the home care provider, who is often in contact with multiple patients throughout a single day. Examples include noncritical devices such as stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs, which should be disinfected after every use.

3. Bring Home Hospital-Quality Disinfection

Here at Halosil International, we understand the importance of bringing whole room disinfection with the highest possible efficacy to every environment in which the patient resides—from the operating room, to the hospital room, to the home. By leveraging our Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered HaloMist™, a hospital-grade disinfectant that kills a broad spectrum of microorganisms, along with our HaloFogger®, home care providers can bring hospital-level disinfection directly to the home environment. Safe for use in human living spaces and around personal electronics, the Halo Disinfection System®’s dry fogging delivery eliminates pathogens where they lurk, making the home a safe space for returning patients.

Ready to help make each patient’s home a safer place? Contact Halosil today.

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