blog | 10.19.20

Infection Prevention Week: Is Your Facility Addressing Soft Surface Contamination?

Healthcare Acquired Infections: The Unbridled Killer

Healthcare acquired infections (HAIs) affect millions of people and cost the US healthcare system billions of dollars each year. Although evidence suggests that most HAIs are preventable, training and compliance protocols do not effectively address the role of surfaces, which are reservoirs for contamination.

Soft-Surfaces Put Patients and Caregivers at Risk

Soft surfaces in particular – such as pillows and mattresses – can facilitate the transfer of disease within hospitals, with deadly infections spreading from patient to patient. In fact, ECRI Institute listed soft surfaces second on their list of Top Health Technology Hazards, stating: “Blood and other body fluids that remain on, or within, mattresses or mattress covers after cleaning can contact subsequent patients, posing an infection risk.”

Additionally, in 2019, a major medical facility conducted a study that evaluated their existing pillows that were thought to be fluid-resistant and hypoallergenic. A total of 20 pillows were collected from the 800 bed facility and brought to a bench scientist for testing. Initial study analysis included testing the sewn seams of each pillow and then cutting open the pillows. The results revealed human and bacterial DNA were present in the inner core of the pillows. And this facility is certainly not alone in this. Healthcare facilities must be diligent in the fight against infection. Studies have shown that nearly one third of all high risk surfaces in a patient’s room remain contaminated from patient to patient, and this is in rooms that have been deemed as ready for a new admission.

The Anatomy of Traditional Soft Goods Is Flawed

The basic anatomy of sewn pillows and other commonly used soft surfaces put patients and caregivers at risk. This is due to several key design flaws:

  • Stitched seams allow fluids and airborne pathogens to enter the core of the product as it breathes
  • Small surface perforations create additional entry points for pathogens, allowing disease to spread among patients and caregivers
  • The exterior provides only a marginal barrier to prevent potential cross contamination from other sources, regardless of whether a stitched or zippered protective slip is used
Spry Delivers a Proven, Affordable Solution to Soft Surface Contamination

Spry Therapeutics offers the first and only breathable barrier solution to offer full protection of soft-surface interiors, helping to reduce the spread of HAIs. Its three key components, which can be applied to any cushioning device, include:

  • Patented Pneumapure filter technology, which allows breathability while blocking all viruses, allergens, and other harmful pathogens
  • Hermetically sealed seams, which eliminate stitching holes that would otherwise allow the absorption of pathogens
  • Waterproof exterior fabric, which prevents pathogen ingress and makes soft surfaces easy-to-clean with no laundry needed

Similar to the way a face mask blocks particles from being expelled by a cough, this breathable barrier around our pillows prevents pathogens from being absorbed and expelled each time a new patient lays down. Spry’s filter technology has been independently tested and proven effective in blocking viruses (including coronavirus) and other dangerous pathogens from entering the core of the pillow. Because of this our pillows act as PPE for both patients and caregivers.

Additionally, the initial results of a study conducted at a major New York healthcare facility have shown that at the end of a six-month period of active use involving all patient units and the Emergency Room, no bacteria was detected on the interiors of any Spry PPE Pillows tested – unlike the existing pillows used throughout the facility.

Soft Surface Contamination MUST Be Addressed

While the conversation around soft surface contamination is only just beginning, Spry Therapeutics is confident that its Pneumapure filter technology will play a significant role in reducing the spread of infection within healthcare facilities. Soft surfaces are an issue that must be addressed in order to protect patients and staff from HAIs – and with Spry Therapeutics, they finally can be.

To learn more, download our e-book here.