Extra Protection for Immunocompromised Patients

It’s widely known that cancer and chemotherapy treatments can damage the immune system, reducing the numbers of infection-fighting white blood cells and making it harder for the body to fight infections. In some cases, an infection can lead to sepsis, which is the body’s extreme response to an infection.

Chemotherapy treatments often last from 3 to 6 months, and even more time after conclusion for the immune system to recover. During this period, the body is considered “immunocompromised,” or more susceptible to infection.

The goal, then, is to find ways to protect oncology patients from infections. There are many ways to do this — from provider and medical facility protocols to personal safety measures patients can take to protect themselves.

But there’s an additional measure we can’t forget: The coverings on medical seating do more than protect the life of the equipment; they can also help protect the life of the patient.

With nearly a billion Americans visiting a doctor’s office each year, you can imagine the number of “touches” each chair and piece of medical seating receives. With so many people sitting in, touching, and variously using the products, it’s easy to understand why keeping the item clean is so important. What’s more, there are laws that demand it.

How to limit the spread of Healthcare Acquired Infections

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), medical facilities are rarely implicated in disease transmission, except among patients who are immunocompromised, which is the population we are talking about in this blog.

However, even with relatively healthy patients, inadvertent exposures to environmental pathogens or airborne pathogens can result in adverse patient outcomes and cause illness — among healthcare workers too. These incidents of Healthcare Acquired Infection (HAI) can be minimized by appropriate use of cleaners and disinfectants and the use of quality medical equipment that is properly maintained.

Elevator buttons, stair rails, counter surfaces, door, drawer, and cabinet handles, light switches, phones, keyboards, and computer mice should be disinfected every day. It’s recommended to clean them between patient contact. Because this requires repeated work, some people want to save time and effort by using disinfectant wipes. But do wipes kill viruses?

Generally, because disinfectant wipes have shorter dwell times than most disinfectant chemicals, they may not have enough time to kill the viruses on a surface. The CDC advises using disinfectant wipes that contain at least 60% alcohol to target viruses like the norovirus, influenza, rhinovirus, and coronavirus.

What’s the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing?

And if you’re wondering if “cleaning” (which is simply the removal of debris, including dirt, hair, fluids, and more) is sufficient for the task, the answer is no. Discover the differences between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing (sometimes called “sterilizing”) with this handy guideline from the National Library of Medicine.

Routine maintenance is key to keeping medical seating in prime condition, which is vital to patient health. Did you know that torn materials can’t be adequately cleaned, which allows for the entry of microorganisms. Chairs that are chipped or scratched can make a healthcare facility susceptible to HAIs because the seating allows accumulation of bacteria by being difficult to adequately disinfect.

According to the CDC, “Disinfection destroys most pathogenic and other microorganisms by physical or chemical means. In contrast, sterilization destroys all microorganisms, including substantial numbers of resistant bacterial spores, by heat or liquid chemical sterilants.” 

Medical seating protection — good for your bottom line, even better for your patients

If medical seating coverings are so important, the question becomes, What do I need to look for when buying products for my healthcare facility? We’ve already learned that torn materials can’t be easily cleaned, and common sense tells us that porous materials are more likely to absorb bodily fluids.

Here’s what else you need to know:

  • Is It Durable? Chairs and other types of healthcare furniture should be easy to clean, maintain, and repair. Constant use will naturally cause wear and tear over time. Therefore, make sure you select sturdy, resilient materials, made with the highest craftsmanship and backed by reliable warranties. (Service Plans that offer preventative maintenance are recommended.)
  • Is It Cleanable? Healthcare furniture should be designed with the ability to withstand constant cleaning. And we do mean constant. Upholstered furniture adds to patient comfort, but it needs to be covered with non-porous and fluid-resistant fabrics for easy cleaning.
  • Is It Compatible? Of course, choose a covering that discourages the growth of bacteria, but some cleaning products might cause the material to disintegrate or crack. The seating then becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Seating for all areas should be selected for ease of cleaning and compatibility with the detergents and disinfectants that meet compliance codes and regulatory standards.

Some fabrics can allow bacteria to thrive and spread from one person to another. In a communal environment like a healthcare facility, pathogenic microorganisms can be transferred from high use hand-touch sites like medical seating. Buy fabrics that are going to protect both the equipment and the patients.

Champion’s Secura Antimicrobial Performance Fabric

As you know, bacteria can kill a patient — but Champion’s new Secura Antimicrobial Performance Fabric decreases the risks for your patients. Champion’s new Secura fabric has passed both the AAMI TIR12 and AAMI TIR30 tests to help ensure your patients’ safety.

Offering a proprietary PVC-free product with a luxury woven look, Champion’s Secura Fabrics are soft to the touch yet extremely durable. This performance fabric supports the harsh demands of the healthcare industry, while offering the welcoming appearance of a comfortable textile.

The PFAS-free pattern boasts a patented water-based polyurethane top layer, along with an antibacterial agent that kills harmful bacteria. Our unique GREENGUARD-Certified combination is made without harmful chemicals and contains zero plasticizers.

Secura is a one-of-a-kind fabric developed from thorough research and robust testing to offer graffiti-free, water-based polyurethane, with antimicrobial additives that fight bacteria.

Help protect yourself and your patients from risk with Secura Antimicrobial Performance Fabric, now available — and only available — from Champion.

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