Dr Marco Krewing is Applied Scientist at HARTMANN SCIENCE CENTER (HSC) and an expert in surface disinfection. He is participating in the “CLEAN HOSPITALS Day International Conference” on 20 October 2022 in Geneva on behalf of HARTMANN.
Dr Krewing, the CLEAN HOSPITALS Initiative is campaigning for improvements in the area of hospital cleaning, among other things. Is hygienic cleaning still underestimated in the healthcare sector?
"We are already on the right track when it comes to hand cleaning and hand disinfection. In the meantime, this has become well understood and it is done frequently and well. However, surface disinfection is still neglected. The health risk posed by poor surface hygiene - just think of the monkeypox virus at the moment - should not be underestimated. In this case and with many other pathogens, the following applies: Proper cleaning is active protection against infections!
Surface hygiene is only one component of the entire CLEAN HOSPITALS Initiative. But if you already have good compliance with hand hygiene, surface hygiene is the area where a large increase in safety for patients and staff can be achieved with just a few simple measures. In short: there is often still room for improvement in surface disinfection!"
A standard for cleaning and disinfecting in hospitals has been in place in Germany for a year. The CLEAN HOSPITALS Initiative is active worldwide. Do we need global cleaning standards similar to the German standard?
"It is important to have generally recognised cleaning standards in the healthcare sector. Gladly also on an international level. Gladly also worldwide. To-do lists developed by experts ensure that no important measures are forgotten and that everyone is on the same level everywhere."
Then the standards would just have to be implemented everywhere, right?
"Yes, that is an important point. That's why a questionnaire was developed as part of the CLEAN HOSPITALS Initiative, which now asks hospitals worldwide about the current state of affairs. Putting standards into practice - filling them with life - is a challenge that has to be tackled individually in the hospitals. With cleaning staff, who often come from many different countries, language is often a problem. Illustrative posters have proven to be very helpful because, for many, pictures are easier to understand than words. We at the HARTMANN SCIENCE CENTER are constantly developing such posters. But CLEAN HOSPITALS, with its global reach, has completely different possibilities. This is another reason why we are involved in the initiative.
In order for the cooperation between the cleaning staff and the hygiene specialists to be successful, good communication is fundamentally important. Which areas should be cleaned and how? That should be clear to everyone. An open error culture is also crucial: forgotten areas or wrong dosages should be able to be addressed without fear. Otherwise nothing will change!”
Dr Krewing, thank you very much for the interview!