As the world goes in lockdown over the COVID-19 crisis, researchers are frantically trying to understand all that they can about this novel Coronavirus, in particular, the way it transmits between people, surfaces and objects, in order to gain better understanding of how to contain it.
Whilst there is still much to learn, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (van Doremalen et al, 2020) has demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 (the technical name for Coronavirus) is able to survive on plastic, stainless steel and other non-porous surfaces for up to three days (72 hours). This places great risk on hospitals and therapy settings using vinyl beds and stainless steel equipment.
Clients who engage in prone treatments such as physiotherapy, massage, chiro and osteopathy are at risk of cross-infection. The area of greatest concern should be the face hole — where the highest amount of droplet and airborne transmission is likely to occur. This is where clients place their head and not only have direct contact with the bed where other patients have been, but also where they will breathe, talk, spit and cough — all part of the droplet transmission mode of COVID-19.
Purifas research already indicates that there is a large transfer of both harmful and non-harmful organisms from the patient to the face hole during treatments as short as 30 minutes. Conducted in 2019, our swabs research found all the random beds swabbed had bacteria present — one had Rhinovirus (the common cold) and two had S. aureus (MRSA). With the establishment of coronavirus’ ability to survive on surfaces, the transfer of COVID-19 is indeed a possibility.
Protecting the Face Hole
Strict, appropriate guidelines for therapy bed hygiene are incredibly lacking, as are fit-for-purpose hygiene barrier products. Until the launch of our patent-pending FaceShield™ in 2019, therapy bed barriers didn’t even cover the face hole.
So it is no surprise that therapists aren’t well equipped to practice therapy bed hygiene. The face hole is highly exposed and susceptible to what each patient “sheds” (the technical term for our bacterial footprint, i.e., what we leave behind). With limited sterilisation and useless barriers, therapists are unwittingly putting clients at risk of infection.
Without proper cleaning and disinfecting between each patient, the risk of contracting infectious pathogens is drastically increased. Research has shown that despite three rounds of disinfection, bacteria was still present on hospital beds —there needs to be a more efficient and protective mechanism to keep patients safe, especially in these uncertain times.
Protective measures such as hand washing and bed wiping are crucial, as is use of our FaceShield as a hygiene barrier in treatment. It is the only head sheet that provides full-face coverage by protecting the internal aspect of the face hole. Its soft fabric is two-ply and is proven to reduce bacterial transmission by up to 86%. Unlike paper products on the market, the FaceShield won’t tear or move during treatment.
With the fear of the unknown crippling clients from attending routine health and wellness appointments, it is imperative that professionals are extremely hygienic, reassuring clients and taking extra measures to protect themselves, their business and their customers.
Hygiene will never again be taken for granted. As clinicians, duty of care can no longer be something done behind the scenes. Consumer trust has been eroded and their hygiene expectations are higher than ever before — and rightly so.
In partnership with Physio Supplies Ltd, Purifas has put together a webinar on hygiene best practice that will not only help to reduce infection risk in clinics, but bring clients comfort and peace of mind. A link to the webinar is included in this blog, as well as our FAQs for additional info.