‘Just-in-Time’ Isn’t Enough Time in a Pandemic
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HealthcareAugust 10, 2021

‘Just-in-Time’ Isn’t Enough Time in a Pandemic

How to better prepare for future infection control and prevention

The early days of the COVID-19 pandemic shed light on shortcomings in many organizations’ preparations for long-term crisis situations. With PPE shortages, hospitals overflowing with patients, and an emerging virus epidemiology that was greatly unknown, many healthcare systems worldwide were stretched thin for months until the supply of critical items could meet demand.

Prior to March 2020, there were warnings that a pandemic may occur; however, few realized that COVID-19 would lead to a global shutdown—and that they would be generally unprepared when it did. Looking back today, healthcare professionals, supply chain leaders, and infection preventionists are learning from earlier mistakes, and now know that the best time to address a pandemic is before it happens.

A recent Nurse.com article detailed how COVID-19 has been a wakeup call for healthcare teams. Healthcare workers are now paying closer attention to everyday infection prevention measures like disinfecting surfaces, ensuring proper hygiene, and regularly cleaning equipment.

But paying attention in the moment, with a “just in time” mindset won’t help mitigate and defeat the next pandemic. Scientists are worried about pathogens like C. auris—a deadly “superbug” that can resist many anti-fungal treatments—that may be the cause of the next worldwide health crisis. The best time to prepare for this potential is now.

Below are three essential steps to take to ensure you’re prepared for the next pandemic before it happens.

1. Optimize the Supply Chain for Future Material Needs

The severe lack of critical PPE early in the pandemic was well documented. Healthcare teams must increase their on-hand stock of PPE and ensure their supply chain is optimized for potential high-volume times when crucial equipment and supplies are needed fast.

In response to critical supply and equipment shortages, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a supply optimization strategy that focused on the near-term requirements of healthcare facilities, with guidelines for allocating available and stockpiled PPE, like N95 respirators, gloves, and ventilators in the event of a shortage.

2. Ensure Your Disinfection Strategy is Well Thought Out

With a pandemic affecting virtually everyone across the globe, every facility that contains people—from schools to jails to healthcare centers—must have an effective disinfection strategy in place.

The infection prevention team should analyze the entire facility and all of its spaces to create a disinfection plan based on its specific needs. This involves monitoring the number of patients admitted, the public places where people congregate (like cafeterias), the types of surfaces and equipment that are commonly used, and high-risk areas like operating rooms or intensive care units. The plan should thoroughly detail when, where, and how to disinfect rooms and items, and include a checklist for the cleaning and disinfection team to follow.

A key aspect of an effective disinfection strategy is ensuring the IP team is educated on proper disinfection processes. This involves recognizing how resistant pathogens are to disinfectants and which application methods are most effective. For example, C. difficile requires a sporicidal disinfectant (99.9999% kill rate) to effectively eliminate pathogens. Only a small handful of products are approved by the EPA for use against C. difficile, and can be found on EPA List K. HaloMist™ is one of the few solutions applied via dry fog that is included on this list.

3. Utilize a Proven Disinfectant Solution

Your disinfection strategy is only as effective as the disinfectant you utilize. You must make sure your disinfection solution has been tested by the EPA and FDA and is registered to kill germs and viruses. Yet, with so many products on the market, it can be difficult to choose which one to use.

First, you should consult the product’s EPA label to ensure it is proven to kill the pathogens you are targeting. For SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, you can view EPA List N for approved products.

Next, you should consider application method. There are a few different types of disinfection methods—like spray and wipe, UV light, and electrostatic sprayers—but only dry fog reaches pathogens in all the spaces and places they lurk. At the push of a button, systems like the HaloFogger® uniformly distribute a disinfectant via dry fog, killings germs on all hard, nonporous surfaces without damaging equipment.

Staying One Step Ahead with Halosil

There is still much to be done in the fight against COVID-19, and concern that another pandemic will strike down the line. Halosil is here to help you prepare your disinfection strategy for success both today and in the future. HaloMist has been trusted for over a decade to kill pathogens, and is included on both EPA List N and List K. Plus, with a two-year shelf life—one of the longest on the market—HaloMist can be purchased today to ensure you are prepared tomorrow.

Contact us to learn more about how we are empowering organizations to prepare if the next pandemic strikes.