Sluice/Dirty Utility Rooms are an integral part of any hospital.
They provide a central nexus that allows nurses to safely dispose of infectious material, clean reusable items as well as observe hand hygiene protocols.
The reason they are so critical to the safe and effective functioning of a hospital or care setting is simple. They contain the infectious material that poses risk to clinician and patient health.
Whilst the vast majority of people’s immune system is proof against potentially harmful material like human waste (hence why indoor plumbing doesn’t pose a health risk), those with a weakened immune system are at particular risk.
Sluice/dirty utility rooms provide clinicians a place to safely deal with or dispose of anything that could pose a risk to patient and staff wellbeing.
South Bank University in London conducted studies into healthcare acquired infections and concluded that the causes and therefore infection control was a multi-faceted issue.
The study showed that deep cleaning wards and beds weren’t effective at tackling the spread of infectious disease because it didn’t address all the ways that infectious material can be spread in a hospital.
They concluded that effective infection control procedures coupled with an appropriately designed, properly equipped sluice/dirty utility room both reduced the risk of infection in clinical settings. As such they were integral components in preventing healthcare acquired infections.
It’s easy to understand why. Rather than serving as a hotspot for disease as many assume, a well maintained, correctly operated sluice room has proven to reduce risk because infectious material or contaminated items are disposed of quickly and efficiently. This significantly limits the opportunity for infectious to migrate.
It’s not over dramatic to say that without an effective infection control solution, a lot of people would suffer.
This is in part due to the way the rooms are designed. Sluice/dirty utility rooms are multipurpose spaces specifically devised to contain and dispose of potentially infectious material. They are as singular in purpose as an operating theatre.
This is broken down into four key elements:
- Maceration or Bedpan washer hardware to safely dispose of human waste.
- Soiled area for dirty items that require cleaning
- Hand Washing Facilities
- Clean Storage area – this is always separate from the soiled area.
Despite this very specific and carefully planned layout there is a perception that sluice/dirty utility rooms are dirty.
Admittedly there are times when a sluice/dirty utility room can become contaminated due to a malfunction or misuse but providing your machines have been properly installed, are being used correctly and are consistently maintained then this really shouldn’t be an issue.
However, sluice rooms are designed specifically to keep infection at bay. This is partly achieved through the materials used, such as non-porous high-grade metal and anti-microbial coatings make it all but impossible for harmful microbes to take root and to fester.
We’ve carried this methodology over into our technology, so clinicians can trust that when a sluice room is cleaned, the machinery isn’t harbouring anything nasty to compromise that.
So, providing clinicians observe correct infection control procedures the risk of infection from a bedpan or even soiled sheets is relatively low.
Providing you have the right procedures and the right people designing it, sluice/dirty utility rooms work. The evidence is conclusive and overwhelming.
DDC Dolphin have been designing and installing sluice/dirty utility room solutions since 1991. We are proud to have supported hospitals and clinicians in keeping their patients safe.