Mobile carts are an essential part of any healthcare setting because they help medical professionals become more efficient and streamline their workflow. Due to their frequent use by multiple personnel, maintaining proper cart hygiene is important to ensure the health and care of patients.

Mobile carts should be free of visible soiling to ensure patient confidence in the practice and be sterilized to mitigate the risk of infection.

Point of care equipment

Computer carts and workstations on wheels that are used as point of care carts, make routine cleaning especially important. There are three steps to ensuring your mobile medical carts are decontaminated: cleaning, disinfection and sterilization.

Cleaning

Cleaning is the most important step for infection control because it is responsible for removing organic matter from surfaces. This reduces the number of microorganisms that can live on inanimate objects to curb the spread of diseases.

Cleaning entails the use of water and detergents or enzymatic presoak to remove foreign matter by dissolving oil and proteins. A mechanical hand motion supplies the friction necessary to lift contaminants, while a clean fluid is used to rinse them away.

Disinfection

Disinfection usually employs a chemical agent in a hospital-grade disinfectant to destroy pathogens, but not necessarily microbes. You can disinfect a mobile cart with disinfectant wipes or spray.

Sterilization

The sterilization process destroys all microbial life on a surface. Sterilization involves the use of steam and pressure, dry heat, or heavy chemicals, making it impractical for most mobile carts with electrical components.

Tips for cleaning computer carts

Computer carts should be cleaned often as part of a healthcare facility’s Infection Control Policy. The computer cart manual should be used as the first resource for questions about its cleaning and maintenance.

Having disinfectant wipes on hand is a simple way to keep healthcare computers clean between patients. The professional using the cart should be responsible for disinfecting it after each potential contamination. Although bleach is often used as a disinfectant because of its efficacy against Clostridium difficile, it is not safe for keyboards, so ensure the wipes are bleach-free.

Monitors can be cleaned with a microfiber cloth dampened with an alcohol solution. Turn the monitor off and use a gentle motion to avoid damaging the screen.

For a more in-depth clean, turn your keyboard and mouse upside down and gently shake to dislodge dust and dirt or use a specially designed miniature vacuum. Then follow up with a disinfectant wipe.

Hand hygiene around your computers is also important to reduce spreading pathogens from computers to patients and vice versa. Change disposable gloves frequently and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or correct handwashing technique with disinfectant soap and warm water before and after handling a mobile cart.

The importance of cleaning equipment

Healthcare-associated infections are diseases transmitted to patients during their treatment at a healthcare facility. It’s estimated that about 1 in 31 hospital patients have an HAI at any given time.

This is especially dangerous for immunocompromised patients who turn to hospitals for care. Equipment used in high-traffic environments poses a greater risk of increasing the transmission of diseases.

Microorganisms, many of which are pathogenic, can survive for extended periods on surfaces like mobile carts. If these carts aren’t properly cleaned, many common harmful bacteria can be transmitted between patients and cause preventable illnesses.

Conclusion

High use healthcare equipment, including medical carts, are at risk of spreading diseases if they are improperly cleaned and disinfected. Simple cleaning or disinfecting solutions consist of an agent that destroys pathogens and can be easily used as part of an Infection Control Policy.

Scott-Clark Medical creates mobile carts with a streamlined design that incorporates state-of-the-art technology while still being easy to clean and sterilize. Call us at (512) 756-7300 or contact us via our online form to talk to one of our experienced consultants about how we can customize a cart to meet the needs of your medical facility.

Lewis Morris is a health care enthusiast with a special interest in technology and how it improves patients outcomes.
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