Sunday, September 14th marks the start of Environmental Services Week 2014, which recognizes environmental service (EVS) teams around the world who play a critical role in maintaining a safe environment for healthcare patients, visitors, and staff. Collectively, we think of a safe environment as a place we feel secure and protected from harm. In infection prevention, we think about a safe environment as a clean environment, where patients are protected from dangerous pathogens that can cause hospital-acquired infections (HAIs).

EVS personnel are as crucial as the doctors and nurses who treat patients in reducing the spread of infection and work hand-in-hand with infection prevention departments.  We are happy to join the entire Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) in acknowledging all the progress the industry has made as well as the individual environmental service professionals for their efforts in caring for a complex healthcare environment.

As with hard surfaces, understanding the risks associated with soft surface fabrics in the patient environment will better equip EVS teams to address this infection prevention challenge. Numerous studies have shown soft surface fabrics, such as privacy curtains, to be frequently contaminated with bacteria and that these bacteria can survive for extended periods of time. Even so, one survey of current practices revealed, “thirty-seven percent of hospitals only launder privacy curtains when they are visibly soiled.” [1]

Infection prevention and EVS departments can work together to create better standards of care for soft surface fabrics, including written policies for laundering and utilizing engineering controls like antimicrobial fabrics. But remember, not all antimicrobial technologies are created equal!

As one of the Becker’s Hospital Review Top 100 Infection Prevention Products to know, X-STATIC® Antimicrobial technology is the premier technology for soft surface fabrics. It is an antimicrobial agent registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and works by permanently bonding textile fibers with a layer of 99.9 percent pure metallic silver. The silver layer creates an ionic shield that inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi directly on the surface of fabrics. Products powered by X-STATIC® give EVS managers the peace of mind that fabrics in the healthcare environment are working just as hard as their staff, without any need for additional attention or compliance behavior.

Visit our partner Arc-Com at this year’s AHE EXHANGE Annual Conference, September 21-24th in Tampa, FL and ask about their products powered by X-STATIC®. And look for the silver stripes!

To learn more about Environmental Services Week and AHE, please click here. If you missed the article in the summer issue of AHE Explore Magazine on privacy curtains, order a back copy today! For more information on X-Static, visit www.InfectionPreventionTextiles.com, “like” X-STATIC® on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @XStaticFiber.

[1]DeAngelis , Dianne L. et al. Hospital Privacy Curtains: Cleaning and Changing Policies – Are We Doing Enough? American Journal of Infection Control. Volume 41, Issue 6, Supplement. Page S33, June 2013