One of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) key improvement targets for 2017 is infection control.
Healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) can develop either as a direct result of healthcare interventions such as medical or surgical treatment, or from being in contact with a healthcare setting.
The term HCAI covers a wide range of infections. The most well-known include those caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C. difficile).
HCAIs pose a serious risk to patients, staff and visitors. They can incur significant costs for the NHS and cause significant morbidity to those infected. This is why infection prevention and control is a key priority for the NHS.
We therefore looked at our own products to see if there is anything we could do to reduce an infection risk.
It occurred to us one of the possible ways infections are transferred is a products’ packaging and labelling?
Packaging and labelling for medical products is printed card or paper labels. These products are porous. When an infected hand touches them – infections could be transferred and held within fibres of the card or paper.
Those infections would then be transferred to the next person that picks up the product. Even if they have cleaned their hands, it is irrelevant. Any infection held in the packaging would be transferred to their hands and onto the product presented to the patient.
The solution would be to have some sort of barrier coating applied to products to prevent transfer.
As a redirect result, after working with a specialist printer, all our Slõ Milkshakes+ now have a antibacterial varnish applied to the outside of each pack to help prevent transfer of contaminants and pathogens.
As far as we are aware, this is the first time anyone has tried to reduce the possibility infection transfer from product packaging using this medium. Hopefully it will make a difference.