Working on the principle that what goes up must come down is logical and I was interested to see the result of a small investigation into non-slip socks, currently in vogue for reducing harm due to falls. Nik Mahida and Tim Boswell collected socks from seven wards over two hospitals, collecting 54 pairs and sampling them the same day. The results were interesting. MRSA (9%) and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (85%) were isolated from of the socks (vast majority E. faecium) indicating extensive floor coverage with these organisms. “So what” you may say, “Patients don’t lie on the floor”. True (in the majority of cases), however things fall onto the floor all of the time and get picked up and put onto tray tables, lockers etc and certainly patients can regularly be seen climbing into and onto the bed with these socks (and slippers) on. I also suspect hand hygiene after removing them may be suboptimal and I do wonder if the staff would consider these to be a high-risk item for contamination? Plenty of authors have scoffed at organisms on the floor presenting a risk, however although what goes up must come down, when you think about it there are plenty of ways for it to come up again. As these authors note – these items could be an undetected but significant route of transmission.
One thought on “Something’s afoot..”
Level #1 technologies that can displace old methodologies of hand hygiene and facility maintenance must be integrated into the Stewardship programs underway. As with antibiotics, pathogen resistance will prevail. IPA solvents for hand hygiene and oxidizers for facility sanitation and cleaning (i.e.-O3 & H2O2) will destroy the pathogen regardless of its morphology. Floors are definitely a superhighway for cross-contamination. Traditional floor care must transition to microbial resistance coatings which can easily be maintained without aerosoling pathogens via burnishers and floor polishers. Traditional thinking cannot result in different outcomes. Only technology will provide us the difference needed in today’s IP environment.