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Soiled Utility Rooms and Equipment

A soiled utility room (or sluice room) is a necessity for every licensed elderly care facility and hospital. There are several reasons for this.

In caring for the elderly, the elderly care facility is gradually taking over a higher level of acute care. A soiled utility room is essential to enhance the level of care associated with many of these newly acquired functions, resulting in greater infection control and healthier residents.

People living in large groups in elderly care facilities or patients in hospitals are highly exposed to contagion. Microorganisms that may be completely harmless to healthy people can, in care environments, cause serious infections among people with lowered immunity. Bacteria, viruses and fungi are found everywhere and can be transmitted from one individual to another by items that are inadequately cleaned or handled. A well-designed soiled utility room is the key to prevent the spread of infections.

The reduction of the risk of infection can provide great cost savings to any facility and hospital.

Planning a Soiled Utility Room
The soiled utility room should be equipped with a collection point for soiled goods, a hand washbasin, a flusher disinfector, and a storage location for clean goods. These four facility features are the four cornerstones necessary in order to maintain working routines for good hygiene.

Clean hands on clean goods is the dominant rule for all working procedures in the soiled utility room.

1. Soiled area:
This is an area set aside for soiled goods. It is kept separate from the clean spaces in the room and acts as a collection point for soiled goods. It may consist of a stainless steel discharge table.

2. Hand washbasin:
Most important in the soiled utility room is a well-organised hand washbasin. Cleaned and disinfected goods must never be touched with unclean hands. The hand washbasin should be easily accessible and ought to be placed close to the entrance. It should be equipped with a mixer tap that is easily operated with an arm or an elbow. Accessories such as dispensers for liquid soap and disinfectant, disposable paper towels and waste paper bin must also be available and accessible for easy use.

3. Flusher disinfector:
Soiled receptacles such as bedpans and their lids, urine bottles and toilet buckets, are placed into the flusher disinfector. The flusher disinfector will empty, clean and disinfect the receptacles, without further labour. After selecting and starting the appropriate program, the cleaning and disinfecting cycle takes 3-7 minutes. Thereafter, the receptacles are transferred to the clean storage area. The basic rule of hygiene is that all objects, which have been in contact with body fluids or secretions, must be reprocessed (cleaned and disinfected) as soon as possible.

Flusher disinfectors exist as freestanding, wall-hung or under-table models. A freestanding flusher disinfector offers a correct loading height and therefore is preferable from the ergonomic point of view. The wall-hung model makes floor cleaning possible under the machine, while the under-table model offers free workspace on the tabletop.

4. Clean storage area:
Cleaned and disinfected goods that are not to be used immediately should be kept away from any soiled surfaces or goods. Cupboards or racks provide good storage. A cupboard mounted over the flusher disinfector is one space-saving alternative. The clean storage area can have counter tops with laminate finish. This helps to differentiate the clean from the soiled area.

In the soiled utility room, there should also be a lockable cupboard or cabinet for storing chemicals or disinfectants. There should also be two bag trolleys; one for dirty linen and one for refuse. A utensil washer disinfector for hand washbasins, bowls, and non-invasive instruments, can also be integrated with the soiled utility room. If stainless steel bedpans are used, a heated storage cabinet is a good option.

CLEAN HANDS ON CLEAN GOODS!
Cleaned and disinfected goods must never be touched or handled with unclean hands. Touching the cleaned goods with unclean hands means the goods become recontaminated and the risk of spreading infections increases. Hands must therefore always be disinfected before touching cleaned and disinfected goods.

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