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How wet is your patient’s bed?

Ingress of body fluids such as blood and urine, as well as other microbiological contamination of mattress covers and subsequently, mattresses, is a big problem for healthcare providers and with good reason, especially in the current healthcare landscape.

Traditional seams can harbour bacteria as the stitching holes in a mattress cover will often create the ideal spot for ingress of infection. Such ingress of body fluid and microbiological contamination from cover to mattress will then fester, creating a much bigger problem, often putting any subsequent patients, and even staff at risk of exposure to not only infectious, but sometimes dangerous contagion.  

Mattress cover and mattress contamination will often go hand in hand, unnoticed and unreported. All too frequently OSKA service engineers are called into a care setting to either conduct a mock Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection or carry out a full mattress audit which, upon opening the mattress cover, we discover the horrors inside. Only then does the full problem become evident, immediately causing greater concern for a more widespread infection and contamination risk.

It is important to note that in order to avoid this scenario, regular equipment auditing is a step towards meeting national CQC regulations to not only achieve a CQC rating of ‘outstanding’ but to ensure the safeguarding of both patients and staff. Audits allow care settings to easily identify products such as mattresses which are contaminated and no longer ‘fit for purpose’.

Whether it’s a ‘scheduled’ inspection, planned by the CQC in advance, or a ‘responsive’ inspection where inspectors arrive unannounced because of a specific and immediate concern, regular and/or annual auditing will detect areas of risk in relation to infection control along with clear documentary evidence to demonstrate which steps are being taken to mitigate that risk.

As such, across the board from Tissue Viability Nurses (TVNs), to end of life palliative care nurses, and even those in the procurement office, infection prevention and control is undoubtedly one of the top priorities for anyone in the healthcare sector.

Whether a care home, a hospice or an acute care setting, all are susceptible to rising rates of infection and the spread of bacteria and viruses. If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that frequent cleaning and sanitising really does underpin improved infection prevention and control. Including ‘infection control’ measures as standard in the design of any healthcare equipment and device remains paramount.

It may sound like good old-fashioned common sense to design equipment without those hidden recesses and crevices, using easy-to-clean materials, but it has taken years of working at the coalface alongside leading TVNs and other acute care providers in hospices and hospitals, to direct our R&D programme into what really drives a reduction in the spread of bacteria and infection.

Materials that are easy to clean are a priority for any healthcare equipment. Built to withstand the aggressive cleaning regimes used within the acute care environment, OSKA’s pressure care mattress covers with welded seams are waterproof and have been vigorously tested internally and independently to fully simulate the demanding conditions. Mattress covers are coated in a special formula to assist with infection prevention and control and can be easily wiped down or better still, washed at 95 degrees Celsius. They also exhibit anti-decubitus properties, give improved durability, are REACH and RoHs compliant (July 2014), as well as improve patient comfort.

The patented V-GUARD Technology provides multi-direction stretch which conform to the contours of the patient and medical apparatus for maximum comfort.  Designed to significantly reduce pressure ulcers, OSKA formulations reduce shear friction and help disperse moisture, both of which are major contributing factors to not only cross-infection but the formation of pressure ulcers.

In many care settings, patients or residents may spend a lot of time in bed or indeed find themselves bedbound altogether. For those care settings who have installed OSKA pressure care mattresses, healthcare specialists report a much-reduced rate of cross-infection between users due to the welded seams and V-GUARD Technology.  Maintaining optimum levels of infection control will not only drive cost savings in the long-term, it delivers a far higher standard of care between the carer and the individual, offering a multitude of more holistic and longer term benefits.

Find out more about V-GUARD Technology with this short video.

We are changing lives every day. We are OSKA – the Pressure Care Experts.