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Heartlands TestingHealthcare environmental pilot trial
In January, the first ever study into the effect of silver antimicrobial products on a healthcare environment was published in the Journal for Infection Prevention*.
The first ever controlled assessment of the effects of silver-based coating of products within a hospital environment have now produced initial results that confirm its benefits in helping to reduce the levels of bacteria in the healthcare sector. The pilot study, now completed by BioCote Ltd. for the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, has highlighted the benefits of a process which is now available on a wide range of storage products available from the UK's leading manufacturer in the field, Link 51 – many of which are used in a healthcare context.
The pilot study compared two similar out-patient facilities within the Trust – one fitted with furniture and equipment treated with BioCote anti-bacterial surface protection, the other with standard untreated items. The initial findings – which included products supplied by Link 51's sister company, Link Lockers – have now indicated a remarkable reduction in bacteria of over 90% in the BioCote protected environment.
These breakthrough results have indicated that designing risk reduction technologies, such as BioCote, into the healthcare infrastructure can make a significant difference in the targeted control of cross-contamination and healthcare-associated infections (HCAI's). The silver agent, at the heart of the BioCote protection, provides a continuous built-in anti-microbial defence when applied alongside other cleaning and hygiene procedures. Coated products inhibit the growth on their surface of harmful bacteria, mould and fungi – such as MRSA – in between cleaning practices.
With Link 51's products used extensively in both the public and private health sectors, the benefits now identified with the BioCote protection represent a significant development for the vast majority of its shelving and storage systems range.
Because so many of Link 51's products are accessed by multiple personnel and, in many cases, represent the interface between the external and the internal NHS environment, they can be highly exposed to the risk of cross contamination. The decision to offer the BioCote protection extensively, is thus seen as highly important and is available across the full range of our shelving and storage products – including static and mobile shelving ranges. Importantly, these can still be supplied with a choice of colours and finishes – but now with the added benefit of BioCote protection.
Results showed an average reduction in bacteria of 95.8% on BioCote® treated products, compared to untreated items. This suggests that the high level of antimicrobial efficacy regularly demonstrated with laboratory product validation can be reproduced in a real-life environment.
Reductions were also seen on untreated products: bacterial counts were 43.5% lower on untreated products in unit A (the same environment as BioCote® treated products), compared with untreated products in unit B. This finding suggests that the lower numbers of bacteria on BioCote® treated surfaces results in lower numbers on untreated surfaces, because there are fewer bacteria being transferred from one to the other.
Using a number of BioCote® antimicrobial products may therefore help the decontamination of the wider environment.
The pilot study also shows how BioCote® protected products can be used alongside cleaning practices to help continually reduce levels of bacteria on surfaces and in the wider healthcare environment.