Simon SHARPE (United Kingdom) Facilities Manager
Queen Elizabeth Hospital (part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust)
In the old hospital we used to have a company that came to do the job for us. They’d use a number of machines to do a whole ward. It was expensive and time consuming. In the new hospital we’ve more single rooms, so we invested in two of our own HPV (hydrogen peroxide vapour) machines. But it was still a long process, sometimes requiring up to three people, and the machines were quite large and relatively complex.
With the need to provide a faster turnaround for bed spaces we had to find an easier process. We undertook some market research and looked at what was out there. The criteria we were looking for was that the equipment had to be easy to use, portable and simple to operate, allowing the housekeeping assistants as well as supervisors to operate it.
We were looking for a system to support and maybe enhance our procedures for decontamination of the environment following the discharge or movement of patients with known or suspected HCAIs. A system which would be easy to use by housekeeping assistants as well as supervisors, and would not delay the turn round times for admissions into vacant beds. OXY’PHARM certainly offers these. We had used other hydrogen peroxide misting systems with varying degrees of difficulties, but two advantages we have seen with the introduction of OXY’PHARM to the trust have been the ease and familiarity of the controls, and the mobility of the machines around the trust.
We tested some Oxypharm machines in a side room and an empty ward, using test strips and sampling. And the results were a success. Four are permanently located in areas where they are in regular use: theatres, critical care, renal dialysis – where due to the needs of the patients in these areas the same room can be treated with HPV up to three times a day – and one in the old Queen Elizabeth Hospital as we’ve re-opened some of the wards. The other four machines are in daily use with the rapid response team right across the hospital.
The machines have been very reliable. We do three or four tests a month to ensure the process continues to perform correctly. The team leader puts test papers around the room at key points, then monitors the gas levels outside the room and, by putting the gas monitor tube under the door, inside the room, recording the levels of hydrogen peroxide. The test papers are affixed to the record
sheet. So we continue to ensure the room is safe to enter after 30 minutes.
The machines are very much part of the infection prevention and control team’s plan for reducing hospital infections and any environmental contamination.
We are fortunate that the layout of the hospital with our large number of single rooms helps us to routinely provide a process for terminal cleaning, which includes HPV. This is all part of the infection prevention and control strategy.